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Eagle pose (Garudasana) is one of the fundamental poses of vinyasa flow yoga and Bikram yoga. It has a host of benefits and, once you get familiar with it, can actually be very relaxing, even though it is a challenging balance pose!

Here are three tips to get the most from Eagle Pose.


Ready to fly in Eagle Pose

Focus on… flexibility

It can take a while to achieve the full expression of the arm wrap in Eagle Pose, but you can work towards it step by step. If you cannot immediately cross your arms by sweeping one under the other you can begin by bring crossing your arms high in front of your chest and grabbing the back of your shoulders with your hands. Hold this stretch for several breaths to let your muscles loosen. Do this first with the right elbow on top, then repeat with the left elbow on top to mimic the full expression of the posture.

Focus on… balance

Break down balancing into steps to make it easier. Focus on pressing the back of your top thigh into the top of your standing thigh to create a single firm support. Keep your gaze relaxed and fixed on a point directly in front of you. Sink back into the “chair” and check that your hips stay aligned.  Keeping the weight is grounded in your standing heel will help maintain balance.

Focus on… openness

In Eagle Pose you are trying to physically compress your body into a small space but the end goal is openness. As you work into the posture ensure maintain steady, even breathing in and out through the nose. Feel your shoulder blades and hips opening, your arms and legs stretching. Concentrate on your joints and tendons: visualise them opening and gaining greater range of motion. When you come out of the asana imagine your arms as wings — limber and ready to soar.

Questions about Eagle Pose? Ask in the comments or Tweet @YogaWithPaul