Garudasana (Eagle) – Overview

Lesson Overview

  • Features: Garudasana (Eagle)
  • Objective: Become knowledgeable about the pose and review detailed teaching considerations.
  • Description: Explain the Sanskrit naming; associated benefits and typical effects; instructions and cues for setting up and practicing the pose; and more teaching considerations.



“Garuda” = Mythological name of the “king of birds” who transports Lord Vishnu

Eagle Pose

Heart of Pose

  • Standing Balance
  • Hip & Shoulder Opening

Mythology Behind Pose Name

Vishnu’s Vehicle, Divine Bird & Powerful Solar Symbol

Garuda means “wings of speech.” This is the name of Vishnu’s vehicle, a divine bird whose wings are formed by the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. Garuda is a powerful solar symbol, leading to enlightenment. – Joseph LePage, Yoga Teachers’ Toolbox 2005 p 76  link

Mythical Creature Gardua: Eagle’s Head, Wings & Talons & Human Body

It is humbling, as human beings, to realize the limits of our own perception. Perhaps that is why, in mythology, the symbolism of birds and animals is incorporated into the gods and goddesses. For example, the mythical creature Garuda (whom this pose is named after) has the eagle’s head, wings and talons, and a human body. With its extended sight, as well as the power to soar to great heights and to strike its target with precision, Garuda is famed for its ability to destroy evil in the form of nagas, or snakes. Symbolically considered to be a destroyer of obstacles on the path of Liberation, Garuda is also the vehicle of Visnu, the Divine power that preserves life. – Swami Lalitananda, The Inner Life of Asanas 2007 p 26  link

Mythical, King of Birds, a Magical Species, Never Get Tired, Ride the Wind

To find ease and a feeling of freedom in the pose, it might help to think about the myths behind Garudasana’s name. Garuda, though often translated as “eagle,” is actually a mythical bird in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. As the vehicle of the god Vishnu, Garuda is said to be the king of birds. In Tibetan traditions, the garudas are considered a magical species; they are often described as “outrageous” because of their extraordinary ability to fly and fly and fly… and never land. They never have to land because they never get tired. And they never get tired because they ride the wind. – Cyndi Lee, Yoga Journal, Twist Up in Knots, Unwind Your Mind: Eagle Pose  link

The Eagle: A Symbol of Power & Victory, Keen Eyesight, No Enemies, Lives in Solitary Splendor

The eagle is the king of the birds, a symbol of power and victory. A bird of prey, it hunts from sunrise to sunset, flying and soaring over its territory, spotting faraway prey with its extremely keen eyesight. It strikes with unerring accuracy… has no enemies, and lives in solitary splendor. It is no surprise then that the eagle is an emblem of victory in battle and also for the triumph of spirit over intellect. – Swami Sivananda Radha, Hatha Yoga: The Hidden Language, Symbols, Secrets and Metaphors 2006 p 181  link

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