Eagle Pose; one of my favorites. In class we often practice Eagle Pose, arms only, sometimes while seated and sometimes in Warrior 1. I carry stress in my trapezius muscles, my upper traps and Eagle pose stretches exactly where I need it. I like to focus on the upper body more then the balance. Last week we did the full Eagle Pose, arms and legs. Someone in class asked “Why is this called Eagle? We are so compressed and not soaring like an eagle?” That got me thinking. Why is it called Eagle Pose?
Sanskrit is often compared to Latin because it is a classical, root language for many other languages. The base of Sanskrit, Vedic Sanskrit, emerged around 1,500 B.C.in India. Most yoga poses will end with the Sanskrit suffix “asana,” which means pose, or literally, “to be established in a particular position.” The word Yoga in Sanskrit means “union” or “yoke.” Yoga poses lead a student to a balancing, or union, of the body and mind.
The Sanskrit word Garuda means eagle, hence the name of this posture. According to Hindu mythology Garuda is the king of birds, he transports Lord Vishnu and is said to be eager to help humanity in its fight against demons. In Hindu and Buddhist mythology, Garuda had the wings, talons and beak of an eagle, but he also had the arms and legs of a man. With a wingspan of miles, Vishnu offered his arm to Garuda as a perch and they became fast friends. Garuda served and carried Vishnu and others as he earned the title “King of the Birds.”
Eagle Pose improves poise, concentration, coordination and balance. Some say it mimics an eagle, a bird with intense concentration, from far above in the sky. The eagle can focus on any prey moving on the ground, which it swoops and whisks away. The goal of the Eagle pose (Garudasana) is to compress everything together and keep it in one line – shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.
Eagle Pose improves balance, stretches the upper back, shoulders and outer thighs. Eagle Pose opens back of pelvis, creates space between shoulder blades and makes legs, knees and ankles strong.