The bridge pose is one that’s good for waking up the nervous system, strengthen the spine, and building some tone and strength in the legs. The bound variation of this pose is also said to open up the chest and shoulders. Yoga Instructor Marissa Rykiss, of Moksha Yoga guides us through successfully achieving the bridge pose.
Firstly, lay down on your back on your yoga mat, keeping your knees bent. Walk your heels inwards, getting as close to your hips as possible. The aim here is that your heels should be so close to your hips, that if you reach down with your hands, you should be able to make finger tip to heel contact. At this stage, your feet are parallel to each other, and your heels should be stacked right underneath your knees.
Next, push your feet into the mat, and as you inhale, lift your hips up, away from the ground, and keep your hips high as your exhale, pressing your shoulders down into your mat. The automatic tendency here is to externally rotate the thighs, letting the knees tip outward – try to avoid doing this, instead keeping your thighs parallel and aligned. To ensure the integrity of this pose, place a yoga block between your thighs, and try not to let the block fall.
If you’re taking the bound variation of this pose, walk your shoulders, one at a time, underneath your, interlace your fingers, and press your hands and fingers into the mat. Push your heels down and away from your hips, so your hips rise, and your chest opens up. Ensure you are breathing deeply throughout.
To release the pose, let go of your hands, and as your exhale, let go of your hips, bringing your suspended body back down to the mat slowly.