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How to Hold Eagle Pose in Yoga


Article by Hayley Hyer

Photography by Stock Images

Garudasana, or eagle pose, is a very crunchy, twisty pose that can look more complicated than it actually is. Here I'm going to break it down step by step for you to make it more accessible and approachable. Plus, I'll mention some things to avoid to make sure you are keeping your body safe.

The way I usually teach eagle pose in a yoga class is to get into it from chair pose, so that's how I'll guide you through it here. For a more detailed guide to chair pose, check out How to Hold Chair Pose in Yoga.

Eagle on the Right Side

  • Keep your legs bent like they already are in chair pose.
  • Cross your left leg over your right knee.
  • Wrap your left toes around your right calf.
  • If you need help with balance, you could also use your left toes as a kickstand on your mat.
  • Pull your left hip back and your right hip forward to square your hips.
  • Tuck your tailbone down toward your mat.
  • Hook your left elbow under your right elbow.
  • Intertwine your forearms and work to press your palms together.
  • If this feels like too much sensation in your shoulders, hold opposite shoulder blades with your hands.
  • Draw your elbows up so that they are directly in line with your shoulders.
  • Pull your shoulders back over your hips.
  • Focus on one spot in front of you that is not moving to help you balance. This is called drishti.

Breath: Inhale chair pose. Exhale eagle on the right. Breathe regularly while you balance.

To do eagle pose on the left side, do everything else the same, but your right leg will cross over your left leg and your right arm will go under your left arm. Pull your right hip back and your left hip forward to make sure your hips are square.

Follow Hayley Hyer @hayhyer