This pose is all about the set up. You have to prepare to get the right lift and to hit the right muscles. Bridge pose is a great easy back bend for the beginner yogi and there are a few variations you can do with your arms to make it a little more challenging.
- Lying on your back with your knees bent, pull your heels back towards your hips until you can just brush the backs of your heels with your fingertips
- Feet are at hip width apart, which is about 2 fists (smaller than you think)
- Pull the belly button into the spine and tuck the pelvis slightly so you can feel your whole spine touching down onto your mat
- Push the palms into the mat, palms facing down and lift your hips up towards the sky
- Imagine there is a block in between your knees and you are squeezing it together, the knees should stay stacked above the ankles and you should feel the stretch move from your buttocks into your legs (where it’s supposed to be)
- Continue to roll your shoulders down the back keeping them away from the ears
- Gaze straight up to protect the neck
- Interlace the hands underneath the body, hugging the palms together and making sure to keep the hands pushing down into the ground
- Keeping the arms straight, tuck each shoulder under and imagine there is a beam shooting out through your chest and lift the chest up high towards the ceiling
- Raise the right leg in the air, and point the toes up towards the ceiling, repeat on the other side.
- Exhale to pull the belly to the spine and switch the core on
- Inhale to lift the hips to the sky
- Calms the brain and nervous system
- Rejuvenating for legs and shoulders
- Strengthens your back and buttocks
Sammy Veall owns and runs Yoga 213 with studios in Bondi Junction, Sydney and South Yarra, Melbourne.
Photography by Deanna Geralch.