4.08.2014

Garudasana 



Garuda is a powerful protective creature in Hindu post-Vedic mythology, one of three principle animal deities, sometimes referred to in English as an eagle (though this is not accurate). Garuda may be depicted in art as follows.
Courtesy of Nagoya Garuda Health Club
Encyclopedia Mythica explains, "Garuda is the king of the birds. He mocks the wind with the speed of his flight. As the appointed charger of Vishnu he is venerated by all, including humans. Garuda is the son of Kashyap, a great sage, and Vinata, a daughter of Daksha, a famous king. He was hatched from an egg Vinata laid. He has the head, wings, talons, and beak of an eagle and the body and limbs of a man. He has a white face, red wings and golden body. When he was born he was so brilliant that he was mistaken for Agni, the god of fire, and worshipped.

Garuda was born with a great hatred for the evil and he is supposed to roam about the universe devouring the bad..."

Garudasana, Garuda pose, involves balancing on one leg, with arms and legs wrapped around each other, to temporarily restrict blood flow to the extremities, and stretch connective tissues around the joints, so that when released a burst of fresh oxygenated blood floods these areas. It can also be performed while lying on the back, so one does not need to focus on the balancing aspect of the pose. Here are images of the pose you may follow for practice instructions.

Anatomy of Garudasana, courtesy of Yoga Anatomy.
Garudasana on the ground, courtesy of Deborah Shemesh.
Upon her first practice of this pose, a student of mine declared, "When I release my arms and legs afterward it feels like I took a shot of whiskey." This is the potent increase in blood flowing to areas momentarily cut off and then reinfused. 
Garudasana in the studio, Namaste North. 
Anchorage, AK, 2013.
Gaurdasana while perched in a tree. 
Alaska, 2013.