Adopted from mythological history, the term ‘Garuda’, which translates to eagle, is part of Hindu Mythology. On the other hand, ‘asana’ refers to an actual physical pose being performed during yoga. Perforce, it is popularly known as the Eagle Pose.
In modern yoga as part of its exercise, depiction in a form of an eagle is a balancing asana while in the standing position. Most if not all of the yoga poses aim towards balance and tranquility. This is done by constant repetition. Relentless practice makes perfect; thus, development is certain to happen.
Moreover, it can be good also for the body, as you progress through the balancing and tranquil position.
In performing Garudasana, it may well benefit the body. In brief, among the benefits include, but not limited to, are the following:
- Joint decompression
- Decreased muscle stiffness
- Improved posture
- Strengthens and stretches the ankles and calves
- Improved concentration
- Improved sense of balance, etc.
Moreover, soothing implications have been documented, in cases such as:
- Lower back pain
In turn, this holistic approach will significantly lead to a positive impact both in mental and physical health.
The Principles of Training
On the aspect of training, the principles thereof may squarely be applied to Garudasana. Aside from being a union of mind and body, Yoga is still a physical training performance. Hence, we still have to be aware of the capabilities of our body in relation to Garudasana posture executions.
There are 5 principles of training essential to a solid exercise program:
- Progressive Overload
Each principle is the basis for the recommendation of Garudasana. Each is exemplified as we delve into our discussion.
It is best first to describe, visualize, and discuss the Eagle Pose. The same is very challenging yet a possible feat. It is divided into 4 steps, namely:
(1) Initially, you have to stand in Tadasana (also known as mountain pose). Bending the knees slightly, lifting the left foot up and, balancing on the opposite foot cross the left thigh over the right. Point the left toes towards the floor and press the foot back. Hook the top of the foot behind the lower right calf and balance on the right foot,
(2) Afterwards, you have to stretch the arms forward, parallel to the floor, and spread the shoulder blades wide across the back of the torso, so that the right arm is above the left arm. Curve the elbows while the clinched arms pull backward. Then, slowly sneak the right elbow into the bent joint of the left. After that, elevate the forearms in an upward manner until both arms are vertically positioned. In this form, the backs of both hands face each other.
(3) Thereafter, press the right hand to the right side and the left hand to the left side, in such a way that they are now facing each other. The right thumb, at this time, must gradually inch its way passing the anterior side of the little finger of the left hand. Then, you must squeeze the palms together as much as what is tolerable and propel the elbows and stretch the fingers towards the ceiling.
(4) Now, you must hold your position for a minimum of 15 or 30 seconds, then, unravel the legs and arms, and again stand in Tadasana. Repeating the process for the same length of time with the arms and legs reversed. Make sure to practice mindfulness, cultivating the mind and body connection all throughout the exercise.
Principles of Training as applied to Garudasana
Yoga poses are stressful, especially the difficult ones. Nonetheless, if you become consistent and determined in practicing and performing the yoga postures, you will eventually reach the point that you can execute them properly and effectively.
As we have conversed about the Garudasana steps, we shall now go to the application of the principles of training in connection with the topic of Garudasana.
You have in your mind the goal to attain the perfect eagle pose and the Garudasana Yoga itself. Consequently, you will try to abide in detail and do the steps meticulously eyeing your objective to have a seamless pose.
You will do the specific body movements for a certain posture that you are trying to fulfill and in every step of it. Hence, you will train for a specific purpose over and over again. Having in mind the eagle pose, you will follow the developmental and step by step posture to attain that perfect eagle pose.
Consistent and constant repetition of the series of movements are required. The quality and quantity of exercise are used to master said skill or series of movements and to overcome and minimize error. Skills and movements are of higher quality when fatigue does not affect the trainee’s ability to properly pattern the movements.
Garudasana perfection in mind, you will try to do it in accordance with the capability of your body. Some may tend to achieve the desired posture and the near-perfect progression poses in just a short period of time. Yet, others may take longer than expected. This is due in part with the different characteristics and individualities of every person. No two human species are alike, as we have been scientifically told to.
Therefore, the capability to do and perfect a certain sport or physical discipline such as yoga will still be dependent on the individualities of each participant and their respective physical capabilities at a particular moment in their workout journeys.
When you exercise, your necessarily and inevitably stress your muscles. That is given. However, the good part here is that while you are stressing your body through proper workouts or exercises, it will make your body release beneficial hormones which in turn will help it to be stronger after its recovery.
Your body will now adapt. It means that when it demands movement at a particular moment, your muscles and other related bodily mechanisms can efficiently respond.
This is true also with this particular form of yoga. Beginners of this practice often find difficulty in wrapping the arms around until the palms touch.
A remedy that is usually suggested is that your arms must be straight forward, parallel to the floor, while holding onto the ends of a strap and keep the strap extended between your hands.
Another difficulty is to hook the raised-leg foot behind the standing-leg calf, and then balance on the standing foot.
An immediate solution is that you have to cross the legs. Yet, rather than hooking the elevated foot and calf, make your big toe of the raised leg foot apply pressure on, and against, the floor to maintain the balance. A support (e.g. Wall) may be used as a supplementary due to the relatively unstable balance for beginners.
This practice is called progression. This is a rooted principle of exercise. It means that to ensure results will remain to advance over time, the training intensity must incessantly rise over the body’s accustomed capacity and capability.
This is similar to weightlifting or lifting exercises with a constant increase in the objects weights is the worldwide accepted method of exercise or workout progression.
Nevertheless, progression may likewise be accomplished by modifying the occurrence, figure, amount, series, and complexities of the exercises. You can also apply it by gradually increasing the number of workouts sets and or any combination thereof.
On the other hand, seasoned trainers, exercise gurus, and the like try different variations that raises the bar of difficulty to a more challenging level.
For this, I may say that you have to be a little creative without compromising the basic training poses and the usual breathing procedure. However, since we have to apply the variation principle in this Garudasana training, we might as well craft some variation techniques.
Not just being creative, it will also result to a high-level workout beneficial to our body and mind as well. This is what we call principle of variation as applied in this yoga Garudasana.
A common variation for this matter is doing an exhale and leaning the torso into a forward bend. From the pose as described above (Garudasana), you may continue to press the forearms against the top-leg thigh, while holding and keeping your breath momentarily. After maintaining a halt in your breathing, you may then come up with a slightly deep inhalation. After so, repeating on the opposite side. This may only be one variation. You can experiment more to heightened the intensity of your pose executions.
Now the downside. This is what we call, in training, reversibility. This is common and practical knowledge that the paybacks of training will be lost when you indulged in prolonged hiatus without training.
However, owing to such principle, this does not mean that you cannot get your groove and form similar to the time from where you left off. Consequently, this may likewise signify that the detraining effect can be reversed once training is again brought back.
We as well know that extended rest periods, without any exercise, will reduce fitness. The physiological effects will diminish over time, thereby, throwing the body back to its pre-training condition. Reductions in performance will follow in as little as two weeks, or sometimes, it is sooner. Remarkably however, your previous training, before the moratorium, will still have a good effect on your body since before you discontinue, you are in your optimal state.
With the above information in mind, we may succinctly know that when we start working out or a training regimen, progressively exposing the body to an entirely new stimulus creates consistent performance enhancements.
In addition, it will lower the risk of over-use injuries, over-training, lessen boredom, and aid in maintaining training intensity. Changing and varying the weight, size, occurrence, workout routine, and break periods can also augment performance.
Among the above-listed steps, the key is for the yoga practitioner, who adapt and imbibe these training principles, to remain in every position for a minimum of 15 to 30 seconds, as mentioned a while ago. You will gradually perfect Garudasana and reap its benefits and importance to your body in no time.