Health and Fitness Lifestyle

YOGA Special: The Bridge

YOGA Special: The Bridge

Get excited people, it’s our NEW Yoga feature!

We will be featuring a special Yoga class once a month from Brogan Kiss. We are very proud to have her on-board as a regular contributor and our very own personal Yoga teacher. 

To begin our yoga series, we will start with one great pose and break it down in detail. Today is all about the Bridge pose, albeit a more active version of it.

Bridge Pose, or setu bandha sarvangasana, is a wonderful counter-pose to a number of positions we often find ourselves in, such as sitting at a desk or on a bike ;).

This pose is equally accessible and beneficial from the newest student to the seasoned yogi. Bridge can be very active and is used to build strength and flexibility, or more restorative and gentle.

We will go over the more active version of the pose today, which gently stretches the hip flexors, opens the chest and shoulders, and strengthens the back and leg muscles.

Caution: If you have serious neck or low back issues, or a shoulder injury, avoid or talk to your healthcare professional.

Let’s Get Started

  • Begin laying on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the ground (see picture below)
  • Your feet should be hip distance apart with the toes turned in just slightly (a slight “pigeon-toe”).
  • Reach towards your feet with your fingertips to graze your heels *note: if you are tall or lanky, or your lower back is very tight, you may want to walk your feet out of reach of your fingers.
  • We are aiming for the knees to stack vertically over the ankles. Look at your knees, making sure you keep your inner thigh muscles strong so the knees track straight ahead.
Yoga bridge pose
Bridge Pose is a wonderful counter-pose to a number of positions we find ourselves in often, such as sitting at a desk or on a bike. Pic:©Brogan Kiss

Up We Go…

  • Once you are set up, press your feet and toes into your mat, press your lower back into the mat, noticing how this action causes your tailbone to lift. Work with this, curling your tailbone up.
  • Bend your elbows, reaching your fingertips to the sky and press your upper arm bones as you deepen the backbend by stretching your chest towards your chin.
  • Note: We often focus on just lifting our hips, which can cause compression in our low back. We want to really target the upper back here, finding as much opening in the chest as we can.
yoga bridge pose
We want to really target the upper back here, finding as much opening in the chest as we can. Pic:©Brogan Kiss
  • You may want to stay here, keeping the fingers reaching towards the sky and working on rolling the shoulders more underneath you.
  • If you have enough space in the shoulders, you may interlace your hands behind your back, squeezing the palms together and pressing the entire length of the arms into the ground as you roll your shoulders deeper underneath you.
  • Continue to stretch your chest away from your knees.
yoga bridge pose
If you have enough space in the shoulders, you may interlace your hands behind your back. Pic:©Brogan Kiss

Hold It…

  • Try to stay here for about 30 seconds, breathing slowly and steadily, working up to 1-2 minutes.
  • Something to keep in mind here is the glutes – this is not a pose where buns of steel are what we are looking for. The glutes are engaged, as are the legs, but we want to avoid any tight clenching. Relax a little.

…and Down

  • To come down, release your interlaced hands back to the sky, and curl down slowly with the hips landing on your mat last. Keeping your feet planted and knees as they are, take about 5 breaths in stillness, before coming up for another 2 rounds.

Complete and Rest

  • When you’re complete and ready to rest, bring the soles of your feet together and allow the knees to fall apart, taking about 30 seconds of deep, steady breaths here.
yoga bridge pose
and relax. Remember to move slowly and enjoy it. Pic:Brogan Kiss

Sore Leg Days

This is a more active version of bridge – so for those days where your legs are spent, follow the same steps, but as you come into your full bridge pose, tuck some blocks or books under the sacrum (the flat area where the spine and the hips meet). This allows the lower body to relax into the support of your props while still opening up the chest.

Most of all, remember to Move slowly, and enjoy!

 

Editors Note:

We really hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson and get a lot out of it. Brogan and her incredible Yoga lessons will be a regular feature at Tyres and Soles.

Yoga and pilates can bring a wealth of benefits to any outdoor activity, be it running, climbing, hiking or biking. At Tyres and Soles, we want you to continue riding and hiking for many years to come. So what are you waiting for? Strike a Pose!

Brogan Kiss

Author: Brogan Kiss

Brogan is a yoga teacher and student, geological engineer, hiker, runner, cyclist, lover of ice cream and salty hair and going on all kinds of adventures. She’s currently located on Canada’s northwest coast.

Check out her Instagram page @ instagram.com/brogankk/

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