For our Yoga Asana post this week I got to reverse my role and got behind the camera as opposed to in front of it to teach you how to do bridge pose! My beautiful yogini friend and teacher Cecilia happily obliged my request to take her photo and gave me full permission to post away. The photo above demonstrates Cecilia in full expression of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, more commonly known as bridge pose.
Bridge pose is a great asana for yogis at any stage of their practice, and is one of the more accessible back bends. You can even make it a restorative pose by placing a block underneath the sacrum. (For those times when you’re feeling exhausted but still want to get a little practice in.)
Bridge pose strengthens the legs and hips, massages the spine, and opens the heart. It also stimulates the abdominal muscles, lungs and thyroid while calming the brain and reducing anxiety, fatigue and backaches.
To begin, lie supine on the floor. Bend the knees and bring the heels close to the sitting bones and rest your arms at your side. Peek at your feet and make sure they are parallel to each other. Exhale and push through the four corners of your feet and your arms to lift the hips. Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel.
Keep lifting the buttocks (without clenching them) until the thighs are about parallel to the floor. Keep your knees directly over your heels, making sure they don’t rotate out to opposite sides. Push the knees forward away from the hips to lengthen the tailbone and lift the pubis toward the navel.
To take the pose a little further, roll the shoulders underneath the body and clasp the fingertips behind the back. Push more into the forearms to lift the chest and heart and shift more weight into the shoulders.
Lastly, lift the chin away from the chest and be mindful not to flatten the neck to the back of the ground. Allow the muscles in the face, jaw and neck to soften. Breathe and stay in this posture for 30 seconds to 1 minute. On an exhale roll the spine back down one vertebrae at a time, lengthening the tailbone toward your feet to elongate the spine.
Take a few moments to let your back relax and feel the effects of this gentle but yet energizing backbend. Thanks for joining me on this yoga journey and be sure to check back next week for another posture. We’ll see which friend I can coax into being my next yoga model!