Sunday, 11 October 2015

Yoga myths and legends - Eagle Pose

Garuda translates as eagle but the word actually refers to a mythical bird in Hindu and Buddhist traditions.  In Tibetan traditions the bird had the face of a man. The story goes that serpents captured Garuda's mother, Vinda. They would only release her if Garuda brought them the nectar of immortality. To do this he would have to overcome three obstacles.  

The first was a ring of fire which Garuda put out by taking the water of three rivers into his beak and using the water to extinguish the flames.  

The second obstacle was a circular door with metal spikes rotating within its frame. To get through Garuda made himself so small that he was untouched by the spikes.  

The third obstacle was two venomous snakes.  Garuda blinded them with his wings then killed them with his sharp beak.  

Having managed to get the nectar of immortality, Garuda returned to the serpents who had captured his mother. Just as the serpents were about to drink of the nectar, a demi-god arrived to reclaim it. As the demi-god grasped the nectar a couple of drops fell on their tongues, splitting them in two and this is why snakes have forked tongues. Garuda was reunited with his mother.  

Eagle pose requires the focus of Garuda.  

To do Eagle Pose, start in Tadasana. Take your right arm under the left and bend both elbows. If your arms allow, take the left arm in front of the right and join the palms. To modify the arm position you can have the backs of the hands together with the right arm under the left, or simply have the elbows and palms together. Lift the elbows level with the shoulders and find a drishti, a gaze point.

Softly bend both knees and take your weight into your left foot.  Take your right foot to the outside of the left, or take the right foot to the outside of the left calf or tuck the right foot behind the left calf.

To come out of the pose, stretch the arms and right leg out as if you are flying like an eagle. Repeat second side. 

Eagle pose helps release tension between the shoulder blades, increases flexibility of the arms and shoulders and increases focus, concentration and intuition.

Please see also 'Yoga legends-Lord of the Fishes Pose'-

Janet x

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