To do Bridge Pose: Come to lie down on the ground, with the knees bent. Walk the feet closer to the glutes, or buttocks. Reach down to see if your fingertips can touch the back of the heels. Keep the feet there, aligned under the knees. Take a deep inhale breath and open mouth exhale to prepare. Take another inhale breath, and on an exhale press the hips up towards the ceiling.
Keep the gaze upwards, looking at the ceiling in order to protect the neck. Begin to shimmy the shoulders underneath you. Clasp the hands below the low back, if accessible in your body. Otherwise, keep the hands pressing downward into the ground, at the sides.
Continue breathing and press the tailbone upwards towards the pubic bone. Draw the knees energetically inwards, or towards each other, as if you were holding a beach ball in-between the legs. Release an energetic “gripping” in the glutes. Focus on using more of the low back and legs strength for the lift. Press the back of the head into the ground to draw the chin away from the chest, lengthening the back of neck. Option to stay here and breathe.
Option to challenge yourself more: Bring the palms to the low back, fingertips facing your feet and thumbs on the outside. Option to stay here ,and again, bring attention to the back of the neck, drawing the chin away from the chest. Smooth out the breath, creating long and slow inhalations followed by smooth and slow exhalations.
Option to try lifting one leg at a time: Drift the left foot a step into the middle of the mat for balance. Lift the right leg and hold for a few rounds of breath and then repeat, lifting the opposite leg with control.
To come out of the posture: Release any block under the low back and release any hand “bind” or palm support on the low back. Rise up to the toes, lifting the heels. Slowly lower the back down to the ground, starting with the upper, mid, and lower back. Once the low back hits the ground, bring the soles of the feet to touch and butterfly the knees out wide, Reclining Bound Angle Pose, Supta Baddha Konasana, to release the low back. Option to bring one palm to the chest and one palm to the belly. Stay here for a few breaths and allow the breath to calm. Take note of how you feel on a physical and mental level, after coming in and out of the posture.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, In Rhythms Yoga, Clairemont, S.D.
Christi is a certified yoga instructor that focuses on teaching adults, private lessons, and kids. She has an intimate space in Clairemont, San Diego, located in the Mount streets. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve your body. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the class schedule and instructors.