Benefits and Uses
The bridge pose stretches the chest, neck, and spine and strengthens the legs. It is said to assist digestion, calm the brain and alleviate stress. The pose can also be modified to a restorative version by using a block under the sacrum for support.
Come to lay down with your back on your mat and bend your knees bringing your feet to the floor and your heels a few inches in front of your buttocks. Your knees should be directly in line with your ankles and your feet parallel at hips distance apart. Have your arms at your sides and feel with your fingertips to see that you can just graze your heels.
Note: Keep your neck straight and long, being careful not to move your head and neck once you are in the pose in order to prevent injury (unlike the model in the photo). Come out of the pose if you need to turn your head.
- Breath: Breathing may feel a bit restricted so focus on breathing deeply using controlled ujjayi breath.
- Modifications: During pregnancy we want to avoid any over-stretching of the belly as well as lengthy inversions, where heart is below belly and could be disruptive to uterine blood flow. To lessen the intensity of the stretch in the front body, you’re your arms on the floor at your sides. In order to practice a restorative version of the pose, place a yoga block under your sacrum (a spot you may have to play around with to find, around the top of your buttocks). Relax deeply in this version and let the block (or sturdy cushion) support your weight entirely. Close your eyes and enjoy.
- Release: From hands clasped in yoga mudra, unlink your fingers and unroll your shoulders, coming onto the back of your shoulders and returning your arms to the sides of your body. Press into the feet for strength as you lower the hips back to the ground one vertebra at a time with lots of control. Feel each contour of your back softly returning to the ground.
- From the restorative version, lift up slightly on your toes as you remove the block from under your sacrum and continue as instructed above.