11. Garuda-asana – The Eagle Pose
The Sanskrit word garuda means eagle. In Hindu mythology Garuda is known as the king of birds. He transports the God Vishnu (shown with a bow and arrow in the illustration to the left) and is said to be eager to help humanity fight againt deamons.
1. Lie flat on the back in the shava-asana (corpse pose).
2. Stand with the feet together and the arms by your sides (see the tad-asana).
3. Draw the left foot upward bending the knee and wrap the left foot around your right leg as you rest the back of your left thigh on the right thigh.
4. Cross your arms at the elbows, left over right.
5. Join the palms of your hands together keeping the fingers pointed upward.
6. Inhale and hold the posture for the duration of the inhaled breath.
7. Exhale and return to the tada-asana. Repeat the posture on the opposite side, wrapping the right leg over the left and the right arm over left.
The Garuda-asana will strengthen the legs, knees and ankles. It stretches and tones muscles of the leg and can help relieve cramps of the legs.
Hold the hala-asana for as long as you are comfortable. 20-30 seconds is fine for early attempts, increase the time gradually as you become more comfortable. You can also try holding the posture for as long as
you can hold the inhaled breath. Repeat 2 or 3 times on each leg.