Arm Variations


Garudasana Arms (Eagle Pose)

Eagle Pose arms

Level: All levels
Category: Arm Variation

Garuda = eagle, the name of Vishnu’s vehicle.

In most, if not all, the other poses here, the shoulder blades are connecting into the back in some form or the other. This is the one variation in which the shoulder blades are broadening away from the spine (protracting). This is an important range of motion to develop, as it will loosen up the rhomboids and muscles of the upper back.

Organizing the pose

    • Inhale and take the arms out to the sides and up to shoulder height.
    • Exhale and cross the right elbow over the left and bring the hands together, either palms together or hooking the fingers around the mound of the thumb.

    (Follow the actions sequentially. If you find it difficult to do any part in the sequence, then let this be as far as you go in this pose for a while, until it becomes easier to do. Then you can proceed to the next part. And so on with the final two. Take care not to overwork the shoulders if they are tight.)

    • Extend from the middle of the back between the shoulder blades out through the elbows, spreading the shoulder blades away from the spine.
    • Lift the elbows up with the fingers and forearms pointing straight up towards the ceiling, and take the upper arms parallel to the floor.
    • Lift and broaden the top of the chest up into the space created by the forearms coming together.
    • Spiral the forearms around each other, rolling the upper forearm and palm away from you.
    • Hold the position for several breaths.
    • Bring the arms back out to the side and repeat, bringing the left elbow on top this time.

Practice Points

    • Soften and broaden the upper back
    • Broaden the tops of the shoulder blades.
    • Soften and open the top of the chest.