Sitting in my backyard as I write this post, I'm reminded how yoga can take us to places we never thought we'd go. I hear the birds singing and see them glide so effortlessly through the air. If only we could fly...
It is in this week's pose, eagle pose, I too flew (with one foot on the ground!)
Over the years, I've dreaded and anticipated eagle pose (garudasana) in my practice. With so much going on in this pose, there are many parts that come easy to my body (e.g., balance, leg strength); yet, many parts of the pose are mighty challenging (e.g., arm positioning, crossing the legs fully).
Eagle pose is considered a standing balance pose. It requires lower body strength and flexibility at the same time; as one leg is for stability and the other is for flexibility as it crosses over the straight leg. As a student of yoga, one cannot deny the challenge this pose gives to the lower body.
With that being said, the upper body has an equally intense challenge of binding the forearms and hands together requiring strength and mobility through the shoulder girdle. For someone like me who carries her stress in her shoulders, the arm position releases tension in the rhomboids and middle/lower trapezius. To make the pose even more endearing, holding the arms in position doesn't necessarily provide stretch. It's only after you release the position that you feel your work complete!
But what I do enjoy about the upper body position, is how one can find space. It amazes me how the arms are all "wound" up, yet by simply reaching the elbows forward and raising the hands up (ever so slightly), there is space. It is so easy to let the position just collapse and it takes mental and mindful effort to keep them lifted. Plus - this is where the big returns happen!
Side note - this is technique and cueing that I picked up from Judy!
Interestingly, it wasn't until now when reading more about eagle pose that I didn't know how to actually cue the position. I've been guided in practice but it was unclear to me which arm was "on top" with which corresponding leg "on top". Turns out, it is the opposite; right arm on top with left leg on top. I suppose that makes sense to add a counterbalance for the upper and lower body. Always learning...
Now - I said I flew. How did that happen...
Well, never having done a variation to eagle pose, I was quite taken aback when I tried it! After releasing the legs, keep the lifted (or "on top") leg off the floor, hinging forward into warrior III (virabhadrasana III). Gravity adds a bonus pull to the upper body, which is very welcomed in my world!
This is where I soared!
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.