Viveka. A Sanskrit term meaning the ability to discern, see clearly, between the real and unreal, changing versus the unchanging. At times this discernment can become blurry or lost in daily life—as we cling and become attached to that which changes. 

Yoga helps you cultivate viveka. It can give you freedom, wisdom. Let’s take a look at Eagle Pose, a pose to re-focus and create clear intent within the mind.

Eagle Pose

The eagle soars high above with great clarity and vision. And when it locks sight on its prey, it remains focused, no matter what. 

We can learn a lot from just this one characteristic of the eagle. To step back and see the ‘big picture’, re-focus our attention on the unchanging, and maintain that connection, whatever comes our way. From there, we see clearly. 

The pose gives us an opportunity to have an embodied experience of being bound and contracted, similarly to how we can live our lives, and in contrast, as we release the pose, to feel the freedom of openness and expansion.

eagle pose

Eagle Pose—Garudasana (GAH-rood-AA-SUN-aa)—is an intermediate posture that challenges both balance and flexibility. The pose gets its name from the Sanskrit words, garud, meaning eagle, and asana, meaning pose.

Level of Difficulty: Intermediate

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Begin by standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana).
  2. Bend your knees as if entering Chair Pose and lift up your left foot, crossing it over your right.
  3. Ensure that your right foot is firmly placed on the floor and your left thigh is over your right thigh. Your left toes should be pointing downwards.
  4. Bring your arms forward and parallel to the floor.
  5. Cross your right arm over your left and bend your elbows so that your arms are perpendicular to the floor.
  6. Slowly turn your hands so that your palms face one another.
  7. Simultaneously press your palms together and stretch your fingers upwards.
  8. Focus your gaze on one unmoving point and stay in the pose for 5–10 breaths.
  9. Slowly release your hands, and spread your arms wide (like an eagle), then bring them to the side of your body.
  10. Raise your left leg and place it back on the floor.
  11. Slowly return to Mountain Pose.

Physical Benefits

  • Stretches the hips, thighs, shoulders, and upper back
  • Improves balance
  • Strengthens the calves
  • Helps alleviate sciatica and rheumatism

Precautions

  • Knee, ankle, or elbow injury

Modifications and Variations

  • To Modify: While learning to balance, use a wall to support your back and increase stability.
  • To increase the challenge: Squeeze your thighs and arms tightly and bring your thighs and arms into a single line aligned with your spine. Close your eyes for an added challenge.

Preparatory Poses and Follow up Poses

  • Cow Face Pose | Gomukhasana  (Preparatory)
  • Chair Pose | Utkatasana (Preparatory)
  • Bow Pose | Dhanurasana Bow Pose (Preparatory or Follow-up)
  • Reclining Bound Angle Pose | Supta Baddha Konasana (Follow-up)

While a regular yoga practice can result in improved health, know that it is not a substitute for medical treatment. It is important to learn and practice yoga under the supervision of a trained teacher. In the case of a medical condition, practice yoga after consulting a doctor. 

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