Thursday, February 24, 2011

Relaxing Yoga Pose: Supported Bridge (part 3)

As we've seen in Parts 1 and 2 of the relaxing yoga pose series, yoga doesn't have to be complicated or make you look like a pretzel in order to be effective and provide restorative and relaxing benefits. In fact, one of the most relaxing yoga poses I know is Supported Bridge with a block. I like this pose so much that whenever I make it to yoga a bit early I grab a block and assume the position - it is the perfect way to achieve a gentle stretch yet totally let go. It's easy to get into - just lay on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet firmly on the ground hip-width apart. Use the strength of your thighs and glutes to lift your hips into air, and slide a yoga block on it's second tallest height under your sacrum (just above your tail bone) before slowly lowering your weight onto the block. Allow your arms to rest alongside you body, close your eyes, and take some deep breaths - you're whole chest can really begin to open here.

Not familiar with yoga blocks? These foam, cork, or wooden blocks are handy tools often used to modify more challenging yoga poses. A foam or cork block works especially well for supported bridge pose as they're a bit softer on the sacrum. I just invested in a couple foam blocks to complement my practice at home, and found some good quality, inexpensive options on Amazon. I recommend going for blocks that are 4" x 6" x 9" - the 3" blocks tend to be too narrow for my liking. Of course, if you don't have a yoga block and want to try out supported bridge, a strategically placed chapter book or two can give you the same idea.

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