Eagle pose is one of the easiest postures to restrict or stop breathing all together. For this posture be extra mindful of maintaining a low, unrestricted breath throughout the length of the whole posture. Having your arms twisted across your chest and squatting like you’re in a public bathroom, no wonder it’s easy to stop breathing.
Since this posture is at the end of the warm up series, it’s particularly important to maintain your breath so you can glide into the standing series without feeling fatigued.
Standing Head to Knee
I have two thoughts on using the breath in this posture. I learned these tips from Mary Jarvis, a long time Bikram teacher. She advises students to inhale deeply when extending your leg out in the second part of the posture (kicking your leg out). This allows your lungs to fill with oxygen. Similar to the spine strengthening series, once you have this full deep breath, breath slowly and normally.
Second, take another deep relaxed breath before pulling your arms down to the sides of your legs (the third part of the posture). These two breaths have been the key to surviving and maintaining my Standing Head to Knee pose.
Similar to my Mary’s suggestion for Standing Head to Knee, try taking a big, dramatic breath and stretch your body and chin toward the ceiling before you start kicking you leg. This large breath will help sustain you through the posture and will give you the confidence to nail the pose for the full 60 seconds.