Garudasana: Meaning, Steps, Benefits

Garudasana

Introduction

Garudasana which is known to us now is diffrent from the pose that was originally described in the Seventeenth Century yoga text Gheranda Samhita.

Gheranda Samhita 1.37 describes

Place the legs and thighs on the ground pressing it, steady the body with two knees, and place the hands on the knees. This is Garudasana.

Verse 1.37 of Gheranda Samhita

From the above definition, we come to know that it is a sitting yoga position; whereas the modern Garudasana is a standing pose. However the sitting posture is not in practice in any of the yoga school. Hence, let us take the standing yoga posture for discussion here.

The modern pose was first decribed in the yoga book Lights On Yoga by B.K.S Iyenkar in the year 1966. Sri Satyananda Saraswati of Bihar School of yoga described this pose in his book Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha in the year 1969. However the ninteenth century yoga text Sritattvanidhi describes a single legged standing posture by this name.

From this information, we can easily deduce that the standing pose (apart from the pose described in Gheranda Samhita) has been in the traditional yoga practice. Therefore, it can aptly be called as a traditional yoga pose rather than a modern yoga pose.

Garudasana Information

Pose NameGarudasana
Sanskritगरुडासन
IASTGaruḍāsana
EnglishEagle Pose
OriginTraditional
LevelIntermediate
GroupTadasana
TypeAsymetric Standing Pose

Garudasana Meaning

It is the combination two Sanskrit words Garuda and Asana. Garuda is a legendary bird in Hindu, Jain, and Buddhistic mythology. It is an eagle like bird and is the Vahana (vehicle mount) of Sri Vishnu, a deity in Hinduism.

In the final position of this posture, the hands look similar to the beak of Garuda. Hence this name. In English, we call it Eagle Pose.

Garudasana Procedure

Safety and Precautions

It is a postion that warrants the balance of the body with standing on one leg. So pregnant ladies should avoid this pose, because there is risk of falling. Otherwise it is pretty easy and risk free.

Preparatory Poses

The following preparatory poses help to master Eagle Pose.

  1. Tadasana
  2. Vrikshasana

Garudasana Steps

Step 1

Stand upright on the floor.

Step 2

Next, bend the right leg and twist it around the left leg so that the right foot is on the calf of the left leg and the right thigh is on the fornt of left thigh.

Step 3

Bend the elbows and bring them afront. Place the left elbow on the upper side of the right arm. Simultaneously press the palms together bring closer to the face.

Step 4

Now slightly bend the left leg and lower the body. Focus the eyesight on the tipof the fingers. Breathe normally. Prolong the position as long as it is comfortable.

Step 4

Relase the position and come back to normal standing Pose. Then repeat the steps with placing legs the other way around. Change the hands too.

Duration

The duration in the final position may be up to two to three minutes. Newbies could not extend the duration to that long. Hence they may repeat the process for three to five rounds. Once got mastery, they could extend the duration to the desired level in a single round.

Garudasana Benefits

The benefits of Garudasana are given below.

  1. It improves the flexibility of the arms and legs.
  2. Eagle Pose gives a good balance over the body as well as mind.
  3. It strenthens the muscles of arms and legs.
  4. This pose tones up the nerves and loosens the joints of arms and legs.
  5. It is good for lumbago, and sciatica.