If you tend to carry tension in your shoulders, neck or lower back, then the bridge pose might be the perfect yoga pose for you. The classic pose provides challenge and stretch, while adding a support block allows you to find release and relaxation in the same areas.
- Begin on your back, with your knees pointed toward the ceiling and your feet on your mat.
- Prepare for the pose by relaxing your back to ground your spine. Breathe into your entire back and imagine your spine melting into the floor.
- If necessary, take extra time to find a balanced alignment in your back and rib cage.
- Rest your hands on the mat by your sides.
- Work your shoulder blades closer together to feel the space between your collar bones widen.
- Inhale and exhale fully. Find strength in your feet by feeling them fully grounded to the floor and then press into your feet to raise your hips.
- While in bridge position, avoid turning your neck.
- For extra stretch in your shoulders, interlace your fingers behind your back and press your hands into the floor (continue pressing feet into the floor as well).
- Breathe fully into any asymmetries.
- Slowly lower yourself back to the floor, one vertebra at a time.
If you have neck or other issues, you may choose to use a yoga block or other available item to enter a supported bridge pose.
- Start the same way, lying on your back with feet planted on the floor and knees pointed to the ceiling.
- Press into the floor with your feet to elevate your hips.
- Once your hips are elevated, place the block under your sacrum (the bone above your tailbone).
- Relax and let your sacrum melt into the block.
- Inhale and exhale fully until you feel a release in your lower back, neck and face.
- To finish, engage your core and press down through your feet to lift yourself off the block. Remove the support block and lower yourself slowly down with two or three cycles of breath.
- End by gathering knees in to the chest and pressing your spine flat against the floor.
- Inhale fully to lengthen your spine.
Activities such as typing and driving can tighten the neck, shoulders, and lower back. Learning how to do bridge pose or supported bridge pose can help you loosen and stretch those areas of common tightness.