One approach for eagle pose arms is to cross the arms in front of you with elbows bent and then grab the back of the opposite shoulder with both hands.
You can then use your hands to pull your elbows past each other. You can hold this for a few breaths.
Then try to rotate your upper arms outwards so that your forearms cross. As you do this you might find it helpful to spread your shoulder blades (middle and right below).
Once your forearms cross you can then hook the fingers of your lower arm into the palm of your upper arm.
Once your arms are in eagle pose you can vary the shoulder stretch by reaching your forearms forwards (below left) or lifting your elbows (below center).
You can also tilt your arms to upper arm side to give the upper arm an external rotation stretch (below right). And depending on how you position your shoulders you can also tilt your arms to the lower arm side. (You might find it helpful to bend your spine to the lower arm side also when doing this.)
Another option for getting the arms into eagle pose arms is to reach both arms out to the sides with the arm that is going to be on top slightly higher.
Keeping your elbows straight, cross your arms in front of your body. As your arms cross, bend your elbows and externally rotate both upper arms to move your forearms past each other. You can then place the fingers of your lower arm to the inside of the wrist of your upper arm. If at first you don't succeed you can repeat this exercise slowly and smoothly with your breath. Inhale arms apart, exhale and cross the arms and externally rotate.
Once you can bind your arms in eagle pose you can also practice the leg position separately and then put the two together.
To make binding the legs easier it helps to roll the thighs inwards. Another action that you can practice is lifting the hip of the top leg. With one leg on top of the other (but not bound) you can practice lifting and lowering the hip of the upper leg relative to the hip of the lower leg.
It may help to press the top leg down against the thigh of the lower leg.
Next practice rotating one leg inwards while your weight is over the other leg. In the pictures below my weight is on my left foot and I'm practicing internally rotating the right leg.
1. Lifting the Hip. 2. Internally Rotating the Thigh
Try the same action with one leg on top of the other. Lift the hip of the upper leg and as you do so roll the thigh of that legs inwards. You may find that as you do so the foot of that leg naturally moves towards the ankle of the standing shin.
Note that in this position both knees are bent. You can vary the degree of knee bend to find a position that makes it easier to eventually bind the feet.
Even if you can't bind I'd suggest not worrying about it too much. You can get some strengthening benefits from the pose just by trying to keep the upper leg foot close to the lower leg ankle.
One of the tricks with Eagle pose (like Tree pose) is staying balanced when pressing one thigh against the other. Eagle pose is extra tricky perhaps because the legs are crossed. And so to overcome balance difficulties stay focused on the supporting foot even as you lift one hip and internally rotate the thigh.
When moving into Eagle pose you can do the arms first and then try to cross the legs. I tend to cross the legs first and then do the arms.
Another challenge is to cross both simultaneously.
As to which way to cross the arms relative to the legs you can have the right leg and right arm both on top or right leg on top with left arm on top. Both with have slightly different effects and rather than saying which way is the right way to do Eagle pose I'd suggest experimenting with both.
Learn how to use Friction to improve leg and arm strength.
Simple exercises with easy to follow instructions
Making difficult poses like Chaturanga Dandasana easier to learn.
Learn Your Body with
Frictional Arm and Leg Strength
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The standing forward bend yoga pose can be used to stretch or strengthen the hamstrings and glutes. It can also be used to stretch and strengthen the calves and as a balance exercise.
Yoga forward bends includes forwards bends for the hips and spine. Forward bends for the hips include both bent and straight straight positions.
Your iphone needs power in order to sense your touch. Proprioception needs muscle activity in order to sense your body.
Some simple exercises so that you can work towards the pistol squat gradually.
Arm supported yoga poses can be used to strengthen the arms and shoulders. Includes plank, chaturanga dandasana, downward dog, dolphin pose, side plank, wheel, reverse plank, table top pose.
This sequence of seated yoga poses includes lotus and virasana variations, janu sirsasana and marichyasana variations as well as more basic seated poses like bound angle, pigeon and seated forward bend.
These hip flexor stretches open up the fronts of the hips and can be used as a preparation for front to back splits. Bent knee hip stretches can be used to focus on rectus fermoris.
Strengthen your hands, your arms, glutes and hamstrings with these standing forward bend variations.
The small actions in this standing psoas stretch can be used to stretch both the upper and lower fibers of the psoas muscle.
Variations of the standing psoas stretch that use the same basic actions.
Here's a break down of the steps of Ashtanga Yoga Surya Namaskar A to make this sun salutation easier to learn and remember.
A reclining psoas stretch I learned from a Richard Freeman Workshop. The better you understand your anatomy the easier it is to work on your body effectively.
The hip stretches included on this page can be used to stretch and improve flexibility of the hip flexors, hip extensors, adductors and abductors.
Friction and pressure are two simple techniques that I use to help my students get stronger and more flexible. These simple techniques also offer a roadway into not only learning how to activate your muscles, but getting a feel for them and your body. Three challenging yoga poses that I use these techniques in are chaturanga, front splits and side splits. While they might not help you get all the way down into the splits, they'll help you feel stronger, and more integrated as you work towards them. And because I've got to pay for my daughters schooling this week, I'm offering a discount on the frictional muscle control videos. (First 100 people only can save over 30%).
Active stretching teaches you muscle control to not only improve flexibility but also body awareness. You'll learn how to adjust postures for better feel as well as more control through a broader range of motion.
Standing exercises for low back pain plus anatomy that can affect the low back and how to use that anatomical understanding.
Experience your body (and understand it) with sensational yoga poses.
Is it a bad idea to heel strike while barefoot running? What are the possible benefits of heel striking? When should you not heel strike?
These yoga poses for abs work on the abdominal muscles (and hips) in both standing positions and seated positions.
Here are the Ashtanga Standing Pose Vinyassas, with inhale movements highlighted in red.