Also known as Eagle pose, Garudasana is a complex balance and twist.  As with all the yoga asana, modifications can be made.  The full pose involves wrapping a right arm over left and left leg over right, then sinking the hips as you stretch the torso upwards.   Right side, followed by the left side. Powerful, and strong. 

Garudasana strengthens and stretches ankles and calves, stretches thighs, hips, shoulders and upper back.  It improves concentration and balance.   The full pose creates a feeling of perfect centredness and strength, as the eagle circles and focusses on its prey, the eyes do not move and the breath becomes shallow. 

Modifications can be made for the position of the arms for people with a muscular upper body.  Instead of wrapping arm over arm, place elbow into opposite elbow crease.  

And for the legs, simply bend the knees and lower the hips without twisting leg over leg.

A deep squat with the arms in Garudasana is another option as is the seated cross-legged or lotus version.

Moving from full Garudasana into a one-legged Warrior III is powerful but fun!

Full Garudasana is to be avoided for those with hip injury or replacement.  But create the upper body eagle in seated or standing pose.

Janaki Jones took her TTC at Sivananda Ashram in Kerala and has taught in London for many years and Brighton for the last 15 years.  She runs retreats, yoga holidays and workshops with her husband Davy, an Astanga yog teacher.

This is one of my favourite asanas.  If you are determined and can practice, practice, practice you too can soar like an eagle!

Author: Janaki Jones