(Garudasana/Eagle Pose) In Sanskrit, the word ‘Garuda’ means Eagle and ‘Sana’ means pose. That’s why the other name for ‘Garudasana’ is Eagle Pose.
Eagle pose is done by crossing one leg over the other while crossing the opposite side arm over the other arm and joining the palms together. As during the execution of Eagle Pose, the performer is standing on one leg, this exercise helps you build your balance and focus. It also improves your body awareness and your core strength.
It is very unique exercise as it allows to stretch very commonly untouched muscle groups like the external rotators of the hip and muscles of the back and shoulders etc. It has other wide range of benefits too apart from improving the flexibility and body strength of some muscles. It is known for relieving asthma and lower back pain. Also, it is known to bring blood and energy flow to reproductive organs.
Eagle Pose can be really difficult for some people as it involves crossing the arms twice at the elbows and finally joining the palms together stressing the wrist joint too. Thus, it is important to know which muscles assist during its execution and which muscles stretch.
So, let’s start the anatomy behind the Eagle Pose.
Trapezius is a trapezoid shaped muscle on the back helps to retract, rotate and depress scapula. Here, its lower part is lengthening as the scapula is in protracted state.
Rhomboids act to bring the shoulder blades together but during Eagle Pose, they get stretched.
Middle Deltoid (Posterior Fibers):
Middle Deltoid is am abductor of the arm. In Eagle Pose, the arms are positioned in an adducted state hence the Middle Deltoid gets stretched.
The extension of the arm is assisted through this muscle. During the Eagle Pose, the arms are flexed forward and that’s why this muscle is stretched.
Teres Minor gets lengthened during the flexion of the arm. The main function of this muscle is actually external rotation of the humerus.
It is a part of rotator cuff muscles. It helps in extension of the arm at shoulder joint and gets stretched during the Eagle Pose.
Deep six Lateral Rotators:
During the Eagle Pose, one leg crosses the other leg and for that internal rotation is the key. Deep six Lateral Rotators are lengthened during the process.
Gluteus Maximus is an extensor and external rotator of the leg. Both legs are placed in a semi flexed position during the Eagle Pose that is why it gets lengthened.
Gluteus Medius (Posterior Fibers):
Just like Gluteus Maximus, the posterior fibers of Gluteus Medius also get stretched due to them being the extensors of the leg.
This muscle protracts scapula and also stabilizes and plays a major role during the formation of Eagle Arm.
Pectoralis Major assists in arm adduction and internal rotation. Both these movements are involved in the Eagle Pose.
Serratus Anterior protracts the scapula and contracts during the Eagle Pose execution.
This muscle is an adductor and flexor of the arm. Without these movements, it is not possible to implement the Eagle Pose.
As a lateral rotator of the arm and stabilizer of shoulder joint, it contracts and helps to achieve the Eagle Pose.
Just like Infraspinatus, it is lengthening as well as contracting. As a lateral rotator of the arm and part of rotator cuff muscles, it contracts.
Posterior Deltoid is another muscle that has dual functions and gets stretched as well as contracts to assist the lateral rotation of the arm.
The arms should be in pronated state and to achieve this fate, Pronator Teres helps.
Another pronator of the arm, helps to maintain the pronated position for the arms during the Eagle Pose.
Tensor Fascia Lata Garudasana/Eagle Pose:
It is a flexor, internal rotator and abductor of the leg. As mentioned before, the leg has to flex a little at the hip joint, here it helps. Also, the internal rotation is important movement for executing the Eagle Pose.
Adductor Magnus (Ischial Fibers):
The Ischial fibers of Adductor Magnus act as the internal rotator of the leg and hence is contracting here.
Gluteus Medius Garudasana/Eagle Pose:
The anterior part assists in flexion of the thigh and also in internal rotation.
Gluteus Minimus Garudasana/Eagle Pose:
Have the same function as Gluteus Medius, in flexing the thigh and internal rotation of the leg. Thus, contracting during the Eagle Pose.