Foot to Hip : Legs are internally rotated and adducted (crossed over each other) hips flexed, knees bent.
Spine : Slight flexion, but working to find length.
Shoulder to Hand : Arms adducted, so shoulder blades abducted (broadened) Shoulders externally rotate, bringing elbows down and palms up together.
Eagle pose is great for strengthening the legs whilst lengthening the outer thighs and glutes and stretching the upper back and shoulders. Preparation in mobilising the hips may be useful prior, (ie. cowface or any glute /outer thigh stretch) if the hips are tight to achieve the position, the knees can be forced to over twist. A modification can be used instead if preferred. This pose can be used earlier on in the main sequence for beginners whilst legs are fresh and not so tired or used even as a peak pose building towards the full expression. Inner thigh stretching can be used to balance out the body, engaging the outer thighs and glutes as well as chest stretching and working of the upper back.
Foot to Hip : Play with angle of back foot.
Spine : Cat Cow. Tilt less/more.
Shoulder to Hand : Straight arm, aeroplane, cactus, interlaced behind.
- Keep the top thigh externally rotated by not tucking
- Keep foot on the floor to help with balanced
- Arms hugged instead of the full arm position will still broaden the upper back
For a deeper stretch in the back of the supporting leg, tilt into Standing Split.
Bend back leg and reach back for foot with both hands, keeping body parallel, kick foot back. Opens the chest and arm lines. Works the thigh further pressing back into hand. May find an extra stretch in the front of the raised leg.
Squat deeply into supporting leg.
Move about to challenge balance further. ie knee to elbow, or w3 to standing knee raise and back repeatedly.