Yoga for Runners: Position 4 - Garudasana

Want better sex? Relax, we're not spamming you with a dodgy 'herbal viagra' offer. It's actually the next pose in the Bikram sequence which could boost your sex life and more besides.

Garudasana, or the Eagle Pose, is the only posture that opens up the 14 largest joints in the skeletal system.

Beyond improving flexibilities in the hips, knees and ankles, Eagle Pose also supplies fresh blood to the reproductive system and sex organs, plus the kidneys, which increases sexual vitality.

It also relieves tension in the neck, shoulders and legs, strengthens the lower extremities and increases mobility in the hip flexors. In fact, it does so much stuff let's just make a list of the general benefits of Eagle Pose:

  • Flushes out kidneys
  • Brings blood to the sexual organs
  • Improves sexual vitality and control
  • Helps prostate problems
  • Firms legs, arms, and abdomen
  • Helps tennis elbow
  • Relieves tension in neck and shoulders
  • Increases joint mobility in the hip girdle, ankles, knees, hips, shoulder, elbow, wrist and mobility of scapula
  • Improves the function of the central nervous system, and the lymphatic system
  • Improves balance and grace of the body

Oh, and ladies as a final fillip for you - it helps combat cellulite.

Garudasana: Step by step

1. Stand with feet hip width apart, toes splayed for extra balance. Make sure you are tall through your spine and engaging your core.

2. This next bit is the tricky bit. Raise your hands above your head, arms straight, then swing them down in front of your body and cross your left arm over your right so your elbows are on top of each other.

3. Bend your elbows and wrap your forearms around each other until your palms are touching. Fingers should be pointed to the ceiling

4. Bend your knees a little and then shift your weight to the left leg.

5. Cross your right leg over your left leg just above the left knee.

6. Now move you right foot behind your left leg and hook your foot over your left calf muscle. Don't worry if you can't get the foot behind the other calf just yet - it take some people several months to achieve this part. If you can't then make the pose a bit more challenging for you by bending your standing knee a little more and sinking down a little more while keeping your back straight.

7. Point the crown of your head towards the ceiling and look straight ahead with your eyes and face relaxed

8. Hold for 30 seconds to 3 minutes then place both feet on the floor, straighten up, release your arms upwards above your head and repeat on the other side.

Garudasana: The benefits

It's a bit of a super-pose when it comes to helping runners, says Olga Allon, Director and Head Teacher at Hot Bikram Yoga in London.

'Runners know that their joints are one of the parts of the body that take the biggest pounding when running, especially on tarmac or concrete,' she says.

'Eagle pose opens them up more, including the knee, hips, ankles, elbows, shoulders, and scapula (shoulder blades), and allows more blood to flow in meaning they recover quicker after a session and remain supple and flexible.

'As well as this the pose relaxes the neck and upper back - both of which can get tense on a long run and stiffen up as you get tired. A relaxed upper section means you'll find it easier to swing your arms - and of course the arms dictate what your legs do. If they're swinging easily then you'll find it easier to get your legs going too -which is why when you're working on flexibility it's important to pay attention to the whole body and not just loosen up below the waist.'

Bikram specialist Olga Allon teaches at London's Hot Bikram Yoga.

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Yoga For Runners: Position 3 - Utkatasana


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