[Pose Of the Week] Contract & Open with Reclined Eagle Pose (Beginner)

Strengthen your core, stretch your hips, back, shoulders, & more in Reclined Eagle Pose…

Reclined Eagle Pose (Supta Garudasana) is a beginner-to-intermediate level yoga pose that strengthens the core, stretches the arms, shoulders, hips, and thighs, and helps you find and open to your center. It also offers a great stretch for the center of the upper back – an area that is often difficult to access, and which can store a lot of tension. This is an especially good one to do after a long drive or working at the computer for a while.

If you have knee issues, please modify the pose by crossing the thighs only to avoid putting any strain on the knee joints. For those with shoulder problems, you can simply press the forearms and palms together rather than wrapping the arms.

Before attempting this pose, be sure to loosen up your hips and thighs, and core by practicing a few stretches and twists such as Half Lord-of-the-Fishes, Bridge Pose, and Eye-of-the-Needle Pose.

How to Do Reclined Eagle Pose:

  1. When you are ready, from a supine position, wrap the arms and legs into the position of Garudasana. (Right leg wrapped over left, and left arm wrapped over right).
  2. Maintaining the arm and leg position you choose, inhale to lengthen the arms and legs in opposite directions as far as possible.
  3. As you exhale, curl the body up so that the tailbone and shoulder blades lift off the floor, and the elbows and knees come to meet.
  4. This should in no way be thought of as a ‘crunch’ or as ‘sit-ups’ as the intention is to use the strength of the exhale to move you. (Traditional ‘core strengtheners’ such as sit-ups and crunches have actually been found to weaken the abdominal wall and pelvic floor, preventing us from being able to properly access the core.)
  5. Keep the shoulder blades lifted away from the floor, and notice whether you’re using tension in the neck and shoulders to do this; see if you can use the strength of your core and breath instead.
  6. As you next inhale, again lengthen the arms and legs away from each other.
  7. Practice this 3-5 more times, ensuring the face stays relaxed – which will in turn relax the nervous system.
  8. After the last time you practice this to one side of the body; unravel the arms and legs and reach them out along the floor as far away from each other as you can. Breathe deeply into the front, back, and sides of the body and feel the contrast of spaciousness after contracting.
  9. These movements build a lot of heat and energy within the body, so bring the breath back to an even, steady rhythm before practicing to the other side.
  10. Once you’ve practiced to both sides of the body, rest again with the arms and legs extended, and then practice Bridge Pose to counterpose the actions of the asana. Grounding through the legs and shoulders in this position can bring some symmetry back to the body, and allow again for an opening across the chest and abdomen.
  11. From there, lie in Supta Baddha Konasana in order to open the adductors, and notice the effects of the practice.
Get More Tips for This Pose at EmmaNewlynYoga.com


(Image Source: MrYoga.com via CC Share Alike 4.0 International license.)


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