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Garudasana - A story of courage

Did you know that the majestic eagle has razor-sharp vision, which is 8 times stronger than the average human? 

One such asana attributed to this majestic bird is ‘Garuda' and the asana is called 'Garudasana'

Garuda with Vishnu

Mythology on Garuda

According to Hindu mythology, Garuda was half human, half bird. His body shone like gold, and his two hands were folded in Anjali (Namaskara) mudra. The other two hands carried an umbrella and a pot of nectar. His beak, wings, and the rest of his body resembled a kite. 

Garuda in Mahabharata

The Mahabharata depicts Garuda as the Eagle God. He is symbolized in many new forms, including Khagesvara (king of birds), Suparna (one who has beautiful features), Suvarnakaya (with a golden body), and Nagantaka (devourer—enemy of all snakes). He is Lord Vishnu's vahana (vehicle) across the earth. Majestic and fierce, this fighter bird is referred to as the all-consuming fire of the sun's rays. 

Garuda had a white face, an aquiline beak, red wings, and a golden body. It is said that Lord Vishnu was very impressed with the power and strength that Garuda showed and offered him a blessing. Garuda, in turn, asked Lord Vishnu how he could be of help and thus was ordained as Lord Vishnu's vahana, or vehicle.

Garuda; the Kashyapa son

According to the accounts from the epic Mahabharata, Garuda is the younger brother of Aruna, the charioteer of the Sun God.  Sage Kashyapa, the father of Garuda, had two wives, Vinata (mother of birds) & Kadru (mother of serpents). There was disharmony between the wives and sage Kashyapa offered a wish to both of them. While Kadru wished for a thousand sons, Vinata wished for two sons on the condition that they would be more powerful than Kadru's sons. Their wishes were granted accordingly. While Kadrus thousand serpents hatched first; Vinata grew impatient since she had only two unhatched eggs.

In desperation, Vinata broke open the first egg and her eagle son Aruna was born as bright as the morning sun. He urged his mother not to open the second egg until it was ready. This was the only way his brother would have a chance to be born as glorious as a thousand suns. It is said that Garuda was born from the second egg with a massive ring of fire around it. 

The long-lasting enmity between Garuda and the serpents continued since they had tricked Vinata into serving them as their slave. The serpents agreed to release Vinata on one condition: if Garuda could get them an elixir of immortality from the ambrosial soma plant. This meant Garuda had to carry this nectar, which was in heaven, and bring it down to earth for the Nagas.

Garuda successfully accomplished this vast, almost impossible task as per the demands of the serpents. On his way from heaven, Garuda met Vishnu, and this encounter encouraged him to serve as Vishnu’s vehicle and emblem thereafter. Strong and fearless Garuda was also presented with the responsibility to watch over temples and mountains.

Garuda in Ramayana

Involvement in Rama's Quest:

Although Garuda's direct involvement in Rama's quest to rescue Sita is not explicitly mentioned in the core narrative of the Ramayana, his presence is often implied through his association with Vishnu. In many retellings and adaptations of Ramayana, Garuda's unwavering support for Vishnu's avatars, including Rama, is highlighted as a symbol of divine assistance and protection.

Assistance to Lakshmana: 

One significant instance where Garuda's presence is explicitly mentioned in the Ramayana is during the battle between Lakshmana and Indrajit (Meghnath), Ravana's son. Indrajit uses a powerful weapon called Shakti against Lakshmana, which proves to be fatal.

In some versions of the story, Garuda intervenes to protect Lakshmana from the fatal blow. Due to Garuda's intervention, Lakshmana is saved, and the narrative underscores Garuda's role as a protector and ally of Vishnu's devotees.

Lessons from Garudasana Practice 

Garudasana Practice

The asana represents focus, confidence, balance, and rootedness. Each of these are strong attributes of Garuda, the carrier of Lord Vishnu. The Anjali mudra is also retained in this asana.

The physical element of balance required in this pose helps balance the dual forces of masculine and feminine energies and supports motion, intuition, and stability. The third eye chakra is also activated in this asana since concentration is at one point to help hold the pose. 


So the next time you get into Garudasana use the stillness of this pose to reflect on the story and true essence of Garudasana & may that inspire you as you navigate fearlessly with conviction & strength through all the curve balls life throws at you in 2024.


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