Pose of the Month: Eagle Pose

Garudasana


For the lay person or yogi, Eagle pose offers many therapeutic applications. Since it opens the back, it is an important pose for people who suffer from asthma. It helps to open the rib cage and intercostals, therefore improving your breath capacity. Eagle opens the hips, legs, calves and knees. In doing so, Eagle has been known to significantly improve symptoms of sciatica.

When you sit deeply in this pose it releases all gluteal muscles, as well as piriformis. Piriformis is a pear shaped muscle that lies deep in the glutes. There is a hole in this muscle that the sciatic nerve passes through. Releasing piriformis automatically relieves tension on the nerve and brings relief to nagging pain. Many people find low back and gluteal stiffness due to long days sitting at desks and driving. Eagle pose will lengthen your back and release your hips to undo all your days stresses.

For the athlete, all of the benefits mentioned above are sure to improve play. This pose is great for maintaining strength and the integrity of the ankle joint. Many sports rely on a grinding, running and cutting game, such as soccer, football and tennis to name a few. The ankle can take a beating.

Athletes must take time to keep the joint open, clean and strong for power and longevity. As well, gamers need to remember to address the needs of the Achilles tendon to avoid a blowout. This pose recognizes that too.

Your ankle joints need to be strong and agile, but flexibility is also crucial in order to avoid injury. Say a player on the football field makes the play successfully but at the end of the play another athlete lands on their ankle. It may hurt to be landed on, but a properly trained ankle will bounce back immediately or very quickly without long term damage.

Also, any pose that helps keep the hips open will contribute to a healthy knee. Athletes with the most range of motion in their hips can avoid major damage or injury to the knee.

Although you should always consult your physician and research a properly trained teacher before starting a yoga practice, there are a few instances where you should avoid this pose entirely. People with a history of low back, knee or hip problems, should begin with modifications or lying on the floor

Have fun exploring the pose and learning about your body.
Gwen Lawrence has been a practicing fitness professional since 1990. Her current practice includes private yoga training, class instruction and her sport-specific Power Yoga for Sports training program www.poweryogaforsports.com. Gwen's unique combination of dance, massage and yoga training experience, coupled with her extensive knowledge of anatomy, nutrition and homeopathy, provide her clients, class participants and athletes with overwhelming benefits. Gwen is the yoga instructor for several New York Yankees baseball players, team yoga instructor for the New York Giants, New York Knicks, New York Red Bulls, and the Pace University baseball team; as well as many youth teams in a variety of sports. Visit her website at www.yogawithgwen.com

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