Generally found toward the end of a standing series, Garudasana can be a fantastic strengthening, stretching, and balancing pose.  It also has several therapeutic applications, such as, relieving symptoms of asthma, lower backaches, and sciatica.

Getting in to the pose:

From Tadasana, bend your legs slightly, lift your left foot, and cross your left leg over the right and attempt to bring your left foot behind your right calf.  If this is initially too difficult, you can just cross your left leg over your right and bring the left foot around as much as possible.  Continue to keep the right leg bent and straighten your back while balancing on your right foot.

The next step is to get the arms in the proper position.  To do this, straighten your arms out parallel to the floor.  Make sure you protract your scapula.  Cross your arms in front of you so that your left arm is underneath your right arm.  push the right elbow in to the bend of the left and now raise the elbow perpendicular to the floor.  Try to press your hands together.  Stretch your fingers toward the ceiling.  After holding pose, switch sides.

The arm position is working the infrasinatus, serrutus anterior, pectorals major and minor, coracobrachialis, pronator teres and the pronator quadrates.

The leg positioning is working the glutus maximus, piriformis, quadrates femurs, obtuarator internus, posterior fibers or gluteus medias and minimus.

The scapula must both abduct and rotate laterally.  Both the standing and the lifted leg need to internally rotate and adduct in this position.  The standing leg needs to flex at the hip and knee.  The adduction with the internal rotation especially hits the piriformis.  Be careful not to overstate the knees, if the hips are too tight, the knees can be forced to overstate.

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