G is for Garudasana

Garudasana means Eagle pose. Garuda = eagle. Asana = posture.

It is one of many standing balance poses in yoga. The balance postures help to balance the nervous system and ease stress and anxiety. Concentrating on an unmoving spot/point in front of you whilst in the asana can aid in keeping balance for longer because the mind has to calm down in order to stay focused on the point.

Garudasana is described as an asymmetrical standing balance pose. This means that the practitioner focuses on one side of the body then the other experiencing the condition of their muscles on each side separately.

Garudasana has many benefits but the main ones are as follows:

  • strengthens the muscles of the legs and arms
  • tones the nerves of the legs and arms
  • loosens the joints of the legs and arms
  • enhances the ability to balance
  • trains the individual to focus on a fixed point or drishti thus enhancing balance and reinforces the concept of ekagrata or one-pointed concentration

This is one of my favourite balancing asanas. By imagining oneself as an eagle about to fly off from a perching point one feels the inner energy being conserved in the still posture. The arms and legs wrap around each other conserving the energy within. In the forward bending posture there is also a sense of containment of the energy between the bandhas moola bandha and jalandhara bandha. Then if you allow the imagination to let you become the eagle as you release the arms and legs it feels as though one is the actual eagle with powerful wings lifting off into flight. For me ‘quality’ in asana is all about sensing the potency of the pose not only its physical benefits but its mental and spiritual benefits.

Pastel painting of Garudasana / eagle pose by Sanand-Jacq

This A-Z series of blogs focuses on unpacking the Sanskrit terms used in yoga.

Egyptian Goose Haiku

Far from Africa ~

Sacred goose free to settle ~

And flaunt its beauty.

© Sanandi-jacq

The Egyptian Goose is a native of Africa specifically around the Nile Valley and south of the Sahara. This goose was considered sacred in Ancient Egypt. It has become popular as an ornamental bird and is now found much further afield in Western Europe and the USA.

Egyptian Goose along Thames Valley Towpath. UK April 2019 Photo credit: Sanandi-jacq

Pigeon with deformed leg

A pigeon with a deformed right leg has taken to visiting our garden. It looks as though when it was a squab it fought off a predator in the nest and as a result of the ensuing fight its leg was injured. We call the pigeon Percy. He coos for a mate daily and occasionally a female joins him on a branch but the relationship never takes off. Poor Percy cannot gain purchase on the female because of his deformed limb. So much of the time he is disappointed in love. He sits calling for ages but the female is off with another male. Percy often sits bedraggled and scruffy on the balcony railing – the only place where he can rest his belly and let his deformed limb rest over the edge. I don’t know what is going to become of Percy. Pigeons are very sociable birds and are usually seen in pairs. There must be someone out there for him! A blackbird with one white feather on its tail has befriended him recently. They are often seen together.

Photo credit © Sanandi-jacq