March Twist of the Month - Seated Eagle

Garudasana - Seated Eagle

Many of us have declared that 2015 will be our healthiest year yet.

Yogis know that breathing is more than a necessity, it's a luxury, especially in times of stress. Just five minutes of deep breathing can calm your mind, and diminish the stress-related cortisol hormone coursing through your body and adding extra weight on to your midsection.

Deep breathing in Seated Eagle will shut down the fight-or-flight mechanism in the body, stimulate the peri-sympathetic nervous system, and take the edge off so you can relax. Don’t get caught up on how “twisty” your arms are. Seated Eagle is accessible to all levels.

The many benefits include:

  • Improves poise, concentration, coordination and balance.
  • Compression of shoulders, hips, knees and ankles which results in a fresh, juicy supply of blood to the body when the pose is released.
  • Stretches the upper back, shoulders and outer thighs. It’s a great one for those who suffer with sciatica.
  • Opens the back of the pelvis which is a hard spot to isolate.
  • Strengthens knees and ankles which is particularly important for runners and tennis players.

To try out Seated Eagle on your own:

  1. Sit in a cross-legged position, one leg folded over or in front of the other. (It does not matter which leg is on top.) Inhale.
  2. Extend your arms out. Exhale and cross your right arm under your left. Bend at the elbows and cross your wrists if you can. No worries if you can’t (like me).
  3. Close your eyes, and breathe deeply in and out through your nose. You may even try inhaling and exhaling to the count of five.
  4. Keep your attention on the breathing, gently bringing your mind back to it as thoughts come up.

Repeat with the other arm on top. You will notice that one side comes easier than the other. Embrace this and just notice.

Practicing Seated Eagle is a great way to open your shoulders and back while strengthening your legs and ankles. Coupling this pose with breathe work builds a calm determination and grace.