Pose of the Month – Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
DRU VIDEO OF THE FULL POSE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9t_YBfH3Z4
July’s new moon (2nd July) is a time of decisiveness. With six months of moon meditations behind us a pattern should be emerging enabling us to review the past and make minor adjustments to our direction.
This month’s theme (taken from Every Day Matters Diary) is PURPOSE.
Eagle Pose will help us discover our own clear purpose, a common good by which to direct our energy, driving us to make better decisions, form stronger bonds, cultivate more self-awareness and generally make the world a better place. Wow – all that from a standing pretzel balance! Who knew???
We’ll be breaking the pose into stages week by week starting with Body Preps preparing the your muscles and joints, continuing to the physical pose, layering it with breath and then exploring the deeper aspects, mental/emotional and energetic benefits using the affirmations and visualisations that set Dru Yoga apart from other yoga traditions.
Handouts available in class and from the website will enable you to integrate this new posture into a home practice. Don’t worry if your time is limited – a few minutes each day is all that’s needed. The descriptions below are there to help you remember what we did in class. Remember to listen to your own body and always stop if you feel pain but, at the same time, you should be able to feel the stretch in a way that challenges you.
Physical Benefits: to strengthen muscles in the hips, thighs, calves and ankles; to increase flexibility in the shoulders, hips and ankles; increase circulation to the sexual organs and the kidneys; ease cramp in the lower legs; improve sense of balance and co-ordination.
Mental/Emotional Benefits: Align with truth, bring clarity and insight – change of perspective and ability to see the bigger picture. Step out in courage and soar like an eagle, overcoming the everyday irritations and obstacles of everyday life.
Energetic Benefits: Ability to see the heart of any situation with the eagle’s quality of incisiveness.
Care: There are many stages to the full posture so you can assess your own ability as you work through each one. Be aware that the full pose works strongly on the knees, hips and ankles.
The Background Story
Garuda, is Sanskrit for Eagle, the king of the birds, known in Indian mythology as the carrier of Vishnu, the power that upholds the universe.
According to the ancient story, when Garuda was born from a huge egg he appeared as radiant as a million suns. He had the head, wings, talons and beak of an eagle and the limbs of a man which made him so imposing the gods were scared of him and asked him to reduce his size. Think of this reduction in size as you pull the arms inward and the body downwards in Eagle pose.
Garuda’s mother was held captive by snakes after losing a bet with them. The serpents demanded a cup of amrita (nectar that gives eternal life) to let her go. Garuda had to pass through three deadly obstacles to get the amrita from the top of a celestial mountain.
First was a ring of fire which he passed through the gulping the water from several rivers to put out the fire. The second obstacle was a circular door with spiked metal ring that spun in its frame. Garuda made himself small to pass through the door. Finally he faced two venomous serpents which he overcame by flapping his wings and blinding the snake. He then killed them with his beak.
Garuda gave the serpents the amrita but they were only able to drink a few drops before the gods reclaimed it. Instead of eternal life, the serpents’ tongues were split in two, explaining the snakes’ forked tongue. Garuda’s mother was released.
Just as Garuda appeared smaller than his actual size, our spiritual bodies our much larger than our physical bodies suggest. Tapping into our true nature enables us to overcome obstacles and achieve our full potential.
Source: Myths of the asanas : the stories at the heart of the Yoga tradition – Alanna Kaivalya and Arjuna van der Kooi / https://yoginiguru.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/the-story-behind-garudasana-eagle-pose/
Soleus Stretch: Standing take leg back and bend the front knee slightly to stretch the Gastrocneius muscle. Move back foot closer to front foot, bend both knees so you can feel the stretch lower down in the calf, nearer or in the Achilles tendon. Repeat both stretches on the other side.
Piriformis Stretch: Lying down, pull right thigh over the left, hold the back of the left leg and pull the thighs close to the body. Repeat on the other side. This stretch is recommended to relieve sciatica.
Posterior Shoulder Stretch: Arms to side, elbows close to body and bent with forearms in front, mover forearms outwards to side and back. Then standing use a rolled blanket (or belt) to lift right arm over head, left arm holding the blanket lifting and lowering the top arm. If this is not possible due to shoulder issues use an imaginary belt to avoid overstretching. Triceps stretch: Lift right arm, bend and place hand behind neck supporting with the other hand (over head and holding the elbow).
I qualified to teach in 2015 but my yoga journey started much earlier, way back in the 1970s. Here I share my experiences and passion about everything yoga.