Tie yourself in knots with Garudasana – From Chair to Eagle Pose, a strong leg workout

For my first asana blog of 2018 I chose not one but 2 poses: Utkatasana (Chair Pose) and  Garudasana (Eagle pose). I love sequencing them together, so I thought it would make sense having them both here.
These poses are great for strengthening the legs and hip flexors, stretching the shoulders and working on concentration and determination skills.
Garudasana is also particularly good for climbers in the way it stretches the upper back muscles and outer hips, releases the wrists joints and helps to develop balance. Be aware though, if you have a knee or ankle injury/problem I would advise you avoid both postures.

 

Getting into Utkatasana

Stand in Tadasana (Mountain pose): in this version have your feet together, kneecaps lifted by engaging the front of your thighs, tailbone and navel tucked in, neutral spine and even weight distribution of the body between both your feet.

From Tadasana, bend your knees bringing your sitting bones back and down as if your were going to sit on an imaginary chair. You’re aiming to get your thighs parallel to the floor. Lengthen the tailbone down, keeping the lower back long and the front of the body, keeping the torso from leaning forwards.

With an inhalation, lift your arms up, lengthening the sides of the body. Palms facing each other shoulder width apart, or together if your shoulders allow. Keep the neck free bringing the shoulder blades back and down, away from the ears.

Hold for up to 30 seconds.

 

 

Getting into Garudasana

 

 

From Utkatasana, lift your right foot and wrap your right thigh over your left, hooking your left calve with your right foot.

Bend your elbows in front of you and place your left elbow over the right inner elbow, interlacing your forearms pressing the palms of your hands against each other.

Squeeze the thighs together to help with stability. Keep your elbows in line with the shoulders, deepening the stretch on the upper back region.

Hold for up to 30 seconds and then do the other side.

 

If you are unable to hook your upper leg foot to the lower leg calf, you can place your big toe on the ground. This will make balance easier too!

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Also, if your hands won’t meet when you intertwine your arms, you can hold a strap on each hand, or simply give yourself a hug!

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