During your first attempt at Eagle Pose, the dialogue may sound much like this: “Bring your right arm underneath your right foot. Twist your ears like two ropes. Sit down and bring your left eye under your right armpit.”
There’s something peculiar about your first few Bikram classes that has you lose your sense of direction, discover body parts you didn’t know you had, and confuse the ones you already knew about. When your senses have returned —and after you read the rest of this post— Eagle Pose might be your favorite posture.
Getting the posture to look like the one pictured above is easier than following a written description but here are some basic tips to remember:
If your right arm is underneath your left arm, then your right leg is on top of your left leg. Vice versa.
Sit down as low as you can, and keep your standing leg bent throughout the posture.
Squeeze your arms together and legs together, no matter how much you have them wrapped.
You may be frustrated because your legs don’t wrap all the way around, or you can’t bring your palms together because you have tight shoulders. THIS IS WHY YOU NEED THIS POSTURE. Eagle Pose helps to stretch and lengthen tight muscles. Traditionally, this posture was prescribed to underdeveloped children to help them grow. Decompressing the major joints of the body, while stretching the major muscle groups will help you gain range of motion and flexibility.
If your arms are not completely wrapping around each other, focus on stacking your elbows. Use the top elbow to give a gentle push down on the bottom one. Create a slight tugging in the deltoids to stretch them.
If your legs are not wrapping completely, focus on squeezing your thighs together and pointing your toes in the right direction. Bringing the leg higher on the standing thigh will help to create more room for you to wrap.
Some of us may never get a full twist in Eagle due to bigger muscles or other anatomical differences. But whether you’re fully twisted or not, squeeze your arms and legs in a side to side, up and down direction to get full benefits of this posture. Creating tourniquets all over your body, warming up the major joints and muscle groups, flushing your system with fresh oxygen and circulation, and setting you up for a great rest of your class.