Yoga: Try the eagle pose to strengthen your legs and improve balance

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As we practice yoga daily and learn to hone different poses, it’s natural for us to transition from a beginner’s level to a professional level. While we try to experiment with different poses and styles, we might feel the struggle of twisting our hands or feet to perform yoga the right way. One such tedious yet extremely helpful pose is Garudasana or the eagle pose.

The eagle pose may seem easy to perform, yet it’s tricky.

Health benefits of eagle pose or Garudasana

Garudasana is a standing balance posture in which the performer twists one arm with the other and one leg with the other. This pose brings the focus of the yogi to the present moment rather than opposing it. Alongside, it also provides deep stretch on the hips.

1. Eagle pose enhances deep breathing

This pose requires you to wrap your arms in front of you which opens up the back of your lungs, increasing the lung capacity to breathe deeply.

2. Promotes focus and balance

The eagle pose requires you to set your gaze on a fixed point in front of you while you try to balance. This brings your attention back to the present moment. And, balance improves with practice.

3. Enhances deep stretching on the hips

Eagle poses opens up the hip deeply. The further you stretch across by sitting back in a chair position, and the more tightly you wrap your legs, the deeper your hips will stretch.

4. Strengthens the leg muscles

Since the pose requires the yogi to sit in a chair position with crossed legs, doing so provides a boost of strength to the leg muscles.

Garudasana is good for muscle building. Image courtesy: Akshay Gupta via Creative Commons

How to perform eagle pose or Garudasana?

1. Start with the mountain pose.
2. Move further by crossing your left thigh on the right one, and tuck the left foot behind the right calf with your knees bent.
3. Place the right elbow into the crook of the left elbow whilst bringing the palms of both hands together.
4. Repeat on the other side.

Who should avoid doing this pose?

Avoid this pose if you have:

* Any recent knee ankle elbow hip injury/surgery
* High or low BP issues
* Arthritis
* Frozen shoulders

Tips to do eagle pose or Garudasana the right way

Most people flunk at tucking the foot behind appropriately.

Recently, Shynee Narang, a certified yoga instructor, took to her social media to share a reel for the ones who face difficulty in tucking the foot in the eagle pose. In the video, she shared different ways that can aid us in performing this yoga asana well.

Level 1: Work on Hip Rotation

Do side leg swings at least 10-15 times to loosen up.
After that, do front and back leg swings 10-15 times.
Post that, do internal rotations 10 times on each leg.
Do external rotation 10 times on each leg.

Level 2: Leg Strengthening

Perform the dynamic goddess pose a minimum of 10-15 times. Do the dynamic chair pose 10-12 times.
Perform the dynamic figure 4 at least 10-12 times.

Level 3: Ankle Mobility and Range

Perform ankle rotations clockwise and anti-clockwise.
Then, do ankle swings. Flex and point to increase range.

Level 4: Hip opening

Do the forward bend and twist in Gomukhasana. Practice leg wrap and foot tucks on the floor.

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