Hips & HanumanasanasplitsHIPS & HANUMANASANA What a posture! Hanumanasana is such a beautiful expression of what is possible in our physical yoga practice. However, it’s not about “achieving” Hanumanasana but about the exploration of what is possible in terms...
GARUDASANA – EAGLE POSE
Why is it hard to double wrap the leg?
Garudasana, known as Eagle Pose, is a challenging hip opener and hip strengthener. It’s useful in developing balance, but for many people, double wrapping the leg is not accessible. For sure, some people have no trouble at all, but others are completely perplexed.
There are three reasons why it would be challenging for you or your students to double wrap:
- Lack of flexibility of the abductor muscles (outer hip muscles). These are the muscles that are lengthened when we cross our legs.
- Lack of strength of the standing hip abductor muscles. This is a bit confusing unless you watch the video below. The standing hip abductors help to elevate the opposite side of the pelvis, making it more possible to cross the top leg over the bottom leg.
- Lack of technique and timing. In most cases, if you are not applying deliberate technique while moving into a pose, you will be entering the pose the hard way, which means you will only be able to do the postures that match your set of physical muscular patterns. This is a disservice, not because you will miss out on the poses but because you will miss out on the opportunity to change your muscle patterns. In the video below, you will see the timing and techniques for getting into Eagle Pose with double-wrapped legs.
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- Increase range of motion of your hips and hamstrings
- Learn techniques such as facilitated stretching
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How to Increase Flexibility of the Abductors — Outer Hips
If flexibility is inhibiting you from accessing Garudasana and you want to find ways to access your greater range of motion of the outer hip muscles, there are a couple postures you can work with. Any posture that includes crisscrossed legs will be useful and effective in increasing abductor flexibility. Although there aren’t many traditional postures, aside from Eagle Pose itself, one that comes to mind is Gomukhasana, Cow-Faced Pose. However, I would say that Eagle Pose should usually precede Gomukhasana because Eagle Pose requires less flexibility. The posture that I use in the Hips and Hamstrings immersion to prepare for Eagle is a straight single-leg forward fold with crisscrossed legs.
How to Get into the Straight-Leg Crisscrossed Forward Fold
- Start in Lunge Pose with your right foot forward.
- Heel-toe (move) your right foot to the left side of the mat.
- Step your back left foot to the right side of the mat so that both legs are crisscrossed.
- I suggest using block under both hands prior to the last step.
- Straighten your legs to a degree where you are stretching without strain.
IMPORTANT KEY ACTION: Wag your tail bone to the left to increase the stretch along the outer hip and IT band. If that’s too intense, wag your tail to the right to decrease the outer-hip stretch.
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WHY LACK OF ABDUCTOR STRENGTH HOLDS YOU BACK IN EAGLE POSE
Strength of the abductor group (outer hip muscles) is super important for two reasons. First, the standing hip abductors are what lift the opposite side of your pelvis, which allows you to cross your top leg over. Second, without outer hip strength on the standing leg, you would struggle to balance the pose! Outer hip muscles play a major role in balancing any single leg pose. If you find it challenging to balance Garudasana, then you will want to start with a strength-training routine for the abductors. We focus in on strengthening these muscles in the Hips and Hamstrings Immersion
FREE VIDEO TUTORIAL: HOW TO DOUBLE WRAP LEGS IN GARUDASANA, EAGLE POSE
This video clip was taken from Class #3 in the Hips and Hamstrings: 12 Class Immersion
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