In Eagle Yoga Pose both the arms and the legs are wrapped making this a stretch for the shoulders and the hips.
The easiest way to practice wrapping your legs in Eagle Yoga Pose is to do it while sitting down. You can then use your hands to help. Once you have the feeling you can then try it while standing.
To wrap your legs around each other while standing, first bend your knees and shift your weight on to one leg. With your weight on your left leg place you right leg on top. Then lift your right hip (below middle).
To tuck your foot behind your ankle, roll your right leg inwards so that you right foot comes close to your left ankle. (You might find it helpful to roll your left leg inwards also.) From here you can try to hook your right foot behind your left ankle (above right).
Once you've crossed your foot and ankle your can try to relax your hips and let your pelvis sink deeper.
To reduce the stress on your supporting leg knee, reach your pelvis back as you sink deeper so that your supporting shin becomes more vertical. Keep your supporting foot and ankle active.
So that you stay balanced when reaching your hips back, reach your ribcage forwards.
Also, so that you can keep your standing foot stable, move slowly and gradually towards crossing your foot behind your ankle. Because your feet are crossed it can be initially confusing trying to keep your balance. For that reason pay extra attention to the foot your are standing on.
If you are having trouble wrapping your legs or if you don't know how to lift one hip or rotate the thigh internally, you can practice doing these exercises outside of the pose.
To practice lifting your hip, have your weight on one leg. If your weight is on your right foot, focus on lifting the left side of your pelvis. You'll feel a contraction on the left side of your lower back (quadratus lumborum) or at the left side of your waist (obliques).
When lifting the side of the pelvis, focus on pulling it closer to the same side ribcage (below left).
1. Lifting the Hip. 2. Internally Rotating the Thigh
Once you've got the hang of that action, practice rolling your thigh inwards with your weight on one leg. With weight on your right leg practice rolling your left leg inwards.
Once you have the hang of these actions in isolation try both actions with one leg on top of the other and your knees bent. Lift the side of the pelvis on your lifted leg side. Then roll that thigh inwards. Do both of these actions in such a way that your lifted leg foot moves towards the ankle of your supporting leg.
One way that I currently exercise the legs is by not binding the legs in eagle pose. Instead, with the legs crossed, I lift the hip of the top most leg and focus on drawing the foot of the top leg towards the ankle of the bottom leg. I then hold this position without actually binding the foot and ankle. This forces me to use leg and hip strength to hold this position.
Once you've got the hang of the eagle yoga pose arm actions and leg actions in isolation you can first put the arms in position and then your legs or vice versa.
Also, once in eagle position you can focus on relaxing while you hold the pose or you can work to pull your arms away from each other and your legs away from each other. Try doing this in time with your breath: inhale and work to pull apart, exhale and relax.
Do both actions slowly and smoothly, so that they begin and end simultaneously with your inhales and exhales.
Read about developing balance in balancing on one foot.
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.
Sensational yoga poses, lessons to help you enjoy the experience of your body.
Here are the Ashtanga Standing Pose Vinyassas, with inhale movements highlighted in red.
These seated yoga poses have been organized into a rough routine and include lotus, virasana, janu sirsasana and marichyasana variations as well as more basic seated poses like bound angle, pigeon and seated forward bend.
In this preparation for compass pose use your arms to pull your leg towards you for a seated hamstring stretch. To modify, use a strap.
Single joint hip flexors include iliacus, pectineus, obturators, gemelli and gluteus minimus. Use them to help improve your forward bends.
Sensational Yoga ebooks and videos are designed to help you experience your body while focusing on specific poses, actions or parts of the body.
Extreme stability teaches you how to work from the ground up when creating stability, whether you are doing poses on your hands or your feet (or some combination of both).
The working towards wheel pose ebook teaches you basic body first so that you can feel and control your spine, hips and shoulders, so that working towards difficult poses (in this case wheel pose) is easier.
The Muscle control for better flexibility ebook teaches you simple muscle activation techniques that can make it easier to improve your flexibility. Techniques focus on forward and back bending the hips but can be applied to other movements also.
Building up on the material for part 1, Yoga for Beginners 2 teaches you how to make your body stable for a slightly different experience of your hips and shoulders.
Video: This set of simple hip control exercises help you to stabilize the hip joint and control it. You may find these exercises help you improve hamstring and hip flexor strength and flexibility.
One approach to learning yoga is to simply practice yoga poses. The approach in Yoga For Beginners 1 is to help you to learn to feel your body while doing yoga poses.
Some of the exercises in Balance Basics includes learning to balance on the fronts of your feet as well as on one foot using weight shifting exercises. It also includes exercises for crow pose. I've included videos based on the balanace exercises in the book on this page.