So far, I haven’t really focused on many standing balance poses which really are my favorite part of a practice. This is the time in my practice that I most focus on my breath, balance and strength. What I love most about eagle pose is that it not only strengthens your thighs, legs and hips, but it also serves as a shoulder and neck stretch.
As always, when you are doing poses that require both sides, always begin on your right side.
To begin, start in mountain pose (tadasana). On an inhale, bend your knees, bringing balance onto your right foot and begin to cross your left thigh over your right. As you fix your gaze at a point in front of you, hook your left foot behind your right calf. – if you are unable to hook your left foot, you always have the option to leave your left leg wrapped around your leg as your foot is resting on the floor behind the right foot.
Extend your arms right in front of your body, bringing your left arm under your right. Bend your elbows and then raise your forearms until they are perpendicular to the floor. Wrap your arms and hands, and press your palms together. With each inhale, continue to lift your elbows and reach your fingertips towards the ceiling. On every exhale, drop your shoulder blades down your back. – If you are unable to press your palms together, you can also bring both of your forearms together, coming into a big prayer or hold on to a strap.
Once both your legs and arms are wrapped, square your hips to the front of the room and draw your belly button to your navel, engaging your core as much as possible. Bring your gaze to the top of your fingers, continuing your ujjayi breathing.
There are many benefits to garudasana, when practiced with correct alignment it will bring poise and strength to your practice. Keep in mind when you are performing the pose to be squeezing both your arms and your legs. In order to sit deeper, keep your inner thighs firmly pressing throughout the pose – think about both your right and left leg turning into one. In order to keep your hands, arms and thighs in one straight line, continue to squeeze your forearms and hands together.