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The eagle pose is one of the more challenging postures included in the Bikram yoga sequence and it is often part of other advanced hatha yoga classes. The eagle (garudasana) promotes strength and flexibility in the ankles and calves, and it stretches the thighs, hips, and upper back.
To master the eagle, start by standing in tadasana. Bend both knees slightly, then raise your left foot and cross your left thigh over your right, so you are balancing on your right foot. If you can, hook the top of the left foot behind the right calf. Remember to keep the knee of the standing leg bent. You will feel a stretch in your thighs, hips, and calves.
Next, stretch your arms straight in front of you and cross the right arm over the left. Bend the elbows so your forearms are pointing to the ceiling with the right elbow hooked into the crook of the left elbow. Your palms should face each other as you lift your elbows towards the ceiling. This motion helps stretch the shoulders and the upper back.
Hold the position for several breaths, or as long as you can maintain your balance, then release the pose and repeat on the other side.
Caveat: Avoid the eagle if you suffer from knee problems, or modify it by not hooking your foot around your leg.