5 Fun Ways to Spice Up Eagle Pose

Supta or reclining and twisted Eagle Pose or Garudasana Pose.

Eagle Pose (Garudhasana) is a challenging standing balance posture. And while Eagle Pose is fun to practice in its own right, it can sometimes be even more fun to play with Eagle Pose variations. The next time you want to sequence a yoga practice around Eagle Pose or just when you want to spice up your Garudasana practice, give the following Eagle Pose variations a try and see how you like them!

Spice Up Your Garudasana Practice by Playing With These 5 Fun Eagle Pose Variations

1. Reclining Eagle Pose (Supta Garudasana)

Yoga student demonstrates a reclining and core strengthening version of Eagle Pose or Garudasana.

This fun Eagle Pose variation effectively targets your core and inner thighs to add some heat to your practice while simultaneously stretching your shoulders and upper back.

  1. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Cross your right leg over your left. You can stay here or double-wrap your foot around your calf.
  3. Squeeze your legs toward each other and lift your feet from the floor.
  4. Cross your arms in front of you with your left arm on top as if you’re giving yourself a hug. Stay here or bring the backs of your hands or your palms to meet.
  5. Squeeze your arms together, lift your elbows toward the sky, and draw your hands away from your face.
  6. Inhale deeply and hug everything into the midline of your body.
  7. As you exhale, lift your head and chest from the floor and draw your elbows and your knees toward each other into an Eagle crunch.
  8. Hold for a few deep breaths and/or repeat the action a few times. When you’re ready, unwind and switch sides.

2. Side-Plank Eagle Pose

Yoga student demonstrates a variation of Eagle Pose combined with Side Plank Pose.

Side Plank and Eagle Pose are both hard enough on their own, but if you splice them together, it adds an even greater challenge to your balance.

  1. Start in Plank Pose (Phalakasana) and shift your weight into your right hand.
  2. Roll to the pinky side of your right foot and stack your left foot on top of it.
  3. Root firmly into your right palm and stretch your left arm toward the sky. Ground down against the floor to lift your hips up away from the mat.
  4. Keep the strength and action you’ve created, and then bend deeply into both knees.
  5. Lift your left leg and cross your left thigh over your right. Squeeze your inner thighs toward each other.
  6. Option to stay here or double wrap your left foot around your right calf.
  7. Ground down against the floor and lift your hips once again as you start to work your bottom leg toward (almost) straight.
  8. Hold here for a few deep breaths before releasing and switching sides.

3. Inverted Eagle Pose (Viparita Garudasana)

An inverted Garudasana variation.

Garudasana is twice as fun when practiced upside down! So bring some spice to your Headstand Pose (Adho Mukha Vrksasana) practice with a bit of Eagle Pose legs. If you think the new leg position might challenge your balance, or if you normally use a wall to stabilize your Headstand, set up close to a wall.

  1. Start on all fours in Tabletop Pose (Bharmanasana).
  2. Release your forearms to the floor, interlace your fingers, and squeeze the heels of your hands together. Press your forearms, shoulder-width apart, firmly into the mat, and plug your upper arm bones snugly into your shoulder sockets.
  3. Release the crown of your head down in between your forearms and lengthen the back of your neck.
  4. Option to stay here or lift your knees from the floor and lift your hips high.
  5. Stay here or tiptoe your feet slightly closer toward your arms.
  6. Option to stay here or, if it feels appropriate, without any jump, draw one knee closely into your chest.
  7. Again you can stay as you are or, without jumping, float your other leg off the floor and hug your knee closely into your chest.
  8. If you’d like, root down against your forearms and slowly float both legs straight up to the sky.
  9. Option to cross your thighs and hook your foot around your calf.
  10. Hold for a few deep breaths and maybe switch the cross of your legs and hold for a few more deep breaths before slowly releasing back down.

4. Bound Eagle Pose (Baddha Garudasana)

Adding a bind to a pose variation adds challenge to that pose.

A classic Garudasana is a hard enough shape to balance in, but this Eagle Pose variation adds a little more spice and heat to your practice with bound arms.

  1. Stand in a strong, stable Mountain Pose (Tadasana) and focus your gaze on one nonmoving point in front of you.
  2. Shift your weight into your left leg and rise to the ball of your right foot.
  3. When you feel stable, lift your right foot off the floor and draw your right knee toward your chest.
  4. Lean your torso forward slightly and slide your right arm underneath your right knee. Wrap your left arm behind your back and either hold onto a strap to link your hands or interlace your fingers behind your back.
  5. Stabilize your balance and cross your right thigh over your left while keeping your arms in place. Option to double wrap your foot around your calf.
  6. Spiral your torso toward the left and squeeze your legs together as you simultaneously roll your shoulder blades toward each other.
  7. Hold for a few deep breaths before releasing and switching sides.

5. Reclining Rotated Eagle Pose (Supta Parvrtta Garudhasana)

Supta or reclining and twisted Gaurdasana Pose.

This relaxing Eagle Pose variation is a great addition to any cool down to unwind and release your outer hips.

  1. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your hips, scoot them over toward the right side of your mat, and then release them back down to the floor.
  3. Cross your right thigh over your left. Option to double wrap your foot around your calf.
  4. Open your arms out wide into a T-shape and soften the weight of your shoulders toward the floor.
  5. Keep the positioning of your legs, but lift your feet and draw your knees toward your chest.
  6. Slowly release your legs over toward the left side of your mat and rest them onto props or the floor.
  7. Maintain the heaviness within your shoulders as you allow them to sink toward the mat.
  8. Turn your head in any direction that feels comfortable for your neck.
  9. Soften and relax into this twist for as long as you’d like.
  10. When you’re ready, slowly unwind and switch sides.

Have Fun With Your Garudasana With These Eagle Pose Variations

Any pose in the yogic repertoire can be spiced up and played with to make it exciting, fresh, and just plain fun. Enjoy your play with this classic posture, and let it inspire you to spice up the rest of your practice with some novel and unique movements. Your body loves variability, so give it what it craves!

Leah Sugerman, E-RYT 500, YACEP, yoga writer

Leah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer, and passionate world traveler. An eternally grateful student, she has trained in countless schools and traditions of the practice. She teaches a fusion of the styles she has studied with a strong emphasis on breath, alignment, and anatomical integrity. Leah teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings, both internationally and online. For more information, visit www.leahsugerman.com.

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