Pose of the Month
Bridge pose - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Bridge is a heart opening pose and also said to be an inversion because the head is lower than the heart.
Heart opener poses are technically backbends, bending through the spine to create space through the front of the chest and shoulders. There are 3 different types of backbends;
Traction (where the body is bending with gravity),
Contraction (when the muscles in the back contract to overcome gravity)
Leverage (where the strength of the arms or legs are used to deepen the backbend).
There are lots of benefits to this posture;
Stretches the chest, neck, shoulders and hips
Strengthens the back, glutes and quads
Stimulates abdominal organs and can help with digestion
Rejuvenates tired legs
Like most postures bridge pose can be whatever you need during the time you practice - energising, rejuvenating, or restorative.
Lay on your back, bend your knees, soles of the feet on the floor hip width apart and your palms facing down beside your hips.
Inhale to slowly peel the pelvis off the floor, push into the soles of the feet and keep squeezing the glutes and thighs together and also the knees to stop them splaying out tot he side. This will help to protect your lower back.
Roll your shoulder blades underneath your back and you can clasp your hands together. Keep the shoulders drawing away from the ears and also make sure to keep your chin central, tucked towards your chest. Don't move your head either way because you could damage your neck.
Hold for 3 long breaths and slowly release, rolling down through the spine.
Restorative bridge pose
Keep your feet hip width apart and palms facing down beside your hips. Take a yoga brick and set it underneath your sacrum (the flat part at the very base of the spine).
You can start at the lowest setting of the brick and move up according to what feels right for you. Allow your feet, your shoulders and back of the head to full relax into the ground, arms can be soft by your sides and palms face up as a sign of openness and surrender. Allow the sacrum to be fully supported by the brick.
This is a really relaxing pose which helps to create space across the front of the chest and shoulders.
Hold as long as you want.