The Bridge pose is a really nice back-bending stretch which opens up the front of the body, strengthens the spinal muscles, gluteals and hamstrings as well as releasing tension in the shoulders, neck and upper back.
How to do it:
- Begin lying on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, hip width apart and parallel
- Hands resting by the sides of the waist, palms facing down
- Press the lower back into the floor so that the tailbone lifts up
- Then continue that movement by pressing into the feet and lifting first the hips and lower back, middle back and upper back away from the floor
- Tuck the shoulders under and lift the chest up towards the chin
- Interlace the fingers underneath the back and press the knuckles towards the heels
- Breath smoothly for 5 - 10 breaths
- To come down reverse the lifting of the spine
- Slowly release the spine to the floor.
What to watch for:
- The knees will try to flare outwards in this pose - try to keep the thighs, knees and feet parallel
- Keep the head and neck in line with the spine
- Keep trying to push the hips up towards the ceiling.
- To deepen the pose - Lift the heels up off the floor, then work to lift the tailbone up towards the ceiling and draw the top rim of the pelvis down. Keeping that, release the heels back down. This just intensifies the stretch on the hips and quads
- To make this pose really relaxing - Place a block underneath the hips/lower back and then just relax and stay there for as long as it feels good.
Our instructor is Polly Clark; yoga teacher and founder of Mountain Yoga Breaks who offer weekends combining mountain biking and yoga in the beautiful Welsh countryside.