Bridge pose is one of the most beneficial of all the yoga postures. It improves spinal mobility, opens up the chest, releases the hips flexors, strengthens the posterior chain and can help to alleviate knee, lower and upper back pain. Camel and Wheel are more advanced postures that share similar biomechanics.
BRIDGE POSE BENEFITS
- Can help to improve posture.
- Strengthens the knees, quads, hamstrings, hips, glutes and back.
- Stretches the hip flexors, abs, obliques, chest, intercostals and shoulders.
- Improves spinal mobility.
- Increases breathing capacity.
- Can help to alleviate knee, lower and upper back pain.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the mat, hip-width apart. Check that your toes point straight ahead. Rest your arms by your sides, palms facing down and walk your feet back until your fingertips graze your heels.
Inhale, press your feet into the mat and lift your hips up. Exhale, relax into the pose.
Check that your knees point straight ahead and do not fall out to the sides or in towards each other. Your thighs should be parallel, toes point straight ahead. It’s likely that your mid-back is going to be the least flexible part of your spine, so if you lift up from your chest, you will get a smoother and more even arch.
- Next Level
Roll your shoulders underneath you, interlace your fingers and straighten your arms. Press your little fingers into the mat and lift your hips up a little more.
Hold the pose for 3-5 deep breaths, in and out through your nose.
- To Release
Take a deep breath in. Exhale, lower slowly down to the mat. Bring one hand to your belly and one hand to your chest. Walk your feet to the edges of the mat and drop both knees slowly to the right, and to the left. Windscreen wiping your knees a few times to release your lower back.
RESTORATIVE VARIATION: Supported Bridge Pose
- Place a block under your sacrum and hold the pose for 2-5 minutes. This is my go-to pose for passively stretching the hip flexors.
DYNAMIC VARIATION: Bridges
- Inhale, lift your hips up. Exhale, lower slowly back down to the mat. Repeat 4-6 times.
ADVANCED VARIATION: One-Legged Bridge Pose
- If you feel confident, lift your one foot off the mat and press through your heel. Hold for 3-5 breaths on each side.
- Avoid Bridge pose if you have a shoulder or neck injury.