Improve Your Balance with Eagle Pose

Continuing on from my balance discussion from last week, today’s post will focus on the other balancing asana including in Bikram yoga classes, Eagle. Eagle requires additional flexibility and strength when compared to Tree, so it should be thought of as a progression. As with all asanas, there are modified variations of eagle to allow beginners to experience the benefits in a safe way and work towards the full pose without injury. I recommend practicing Gentle Eagle as described below first prior to attempting the full pose. It is important to note in the full pose which arm goes on top in order to allow normal blood flow: if the left leg is crossing, the right arm should be on top.

Gentle Eagle Instruction

  1. Stand in Mountain pose Shift all of your weight onto the right leg.
  2. Wrap the left leg around the standing leg as pictured
  3. Press both forearms and palms together
  4. Hold for 15-30 seconds, maintaining balance and then repeat for the left leg


  • More Stability: stand in front of a wall for support
  • More Challenging: slightly bend the weight bearing knee

Full Eagle Pose Instruction

  1. Stand in Mountain pose.
  2. Bend your knees slightly and transfer all of your weight to the right leg.
  3. Lift your left foot up and cross your left thigh over the right. Point your left toes down and hook the top of the foot behind the lower right calf.
  4. Stretch your arms straight forward, parallel to the floor. Cross the arms in front of your torso so that the right arm is above the left and then bend your elbows, hugging the right elbow into the crook of the left.
  5. Rotate the wrists inward so that the palms are facing each other. Press the palms together (as much as is possible for you), lift your elbows up and stretch the fingers toward the ceiling.
  6. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then unwind the legs and arms and stand in Mountain again.
  7. Repeat for the same length of time with the arms and legs reversed.

Benefits of Eagle Pose:

  • Improves balance
  • Improve concentration
  • Strengthens ankles and hip muscles
  • Stretches glutes, upper back, shoulders, ankles

Contraindication: Knee injury

Reference: Shaw, Beth (2009). Beth Shaw’s YogaFit. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Photo Credit:


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Leisha Vernier
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 20:17:16

    this is my comments ! thx for all !


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