Hurrying from one task to the next. Making sure we get everything done on our long laundry list of things to accomplish. This business tends to trickle over into our place of release: yoga. We find ourselves mindlessly moving from pose to pose. But there are certain poses where we must slow down, surrender.
Bridge pose provides this balance. Bridge is a dynamic pose that engages the body but also forces us to stay stationary, connecting with our breath. In SUP yoga, this pose has versatility. It can be used at the beginning of class to help calm the mind and connect with the board and water and build confidence. It also has the benefits of helping release the tension built up in the chest, shoulders, and neck. Bridge serves as a great pose to use while slowing down the practice.
Start lying flat on the back, keeping the handle of the board beneath the belly button. This will center you on the board as well as provide the most stability. Allow the soles of the feet to plant firmly on the mat, at hip width. Bring the hands down by the hips. Palms facing down. The thumbs will touch the glutes while the index fingers will reach towards and touching the heels of the feet. The thighs and shins will be parallel. The jaw relaxed.
Grounding down through the feet, begin to rise the hips off of the board. Move the hips upward, as to raise the tailbone up toward the pubic bones. Keep the neck and head heavy and connected to the board. The glutes will firm but do not let them engage and take over the pose. The thighs will rotate inward, keeping the shins and thighs parallel. The lower back will rise off the mat. The sternum up toward the chin.
This is Bridge Pose. If the body needs more, the next sequence will help open up the shoulders while deepening the pose.
One shoulder at a time, roll the shoulder blades underneath the upper back. The palms will face upwards. This will allow mobility in the arms.
Bring the palms to touch below the tailbone. Interlace the fingers and begin extending the hands down toward the board and heels. Continue encouraging the chest toward the chin, but chin away from the chest. This will help open the front line of the body. Hold this pose for three to six equal-length breaths. Or for a more restorative manner, the pose can be held longer one to two minutes.
When ready to release the pose. Let the hands and shoulders release. Slowly bringing the glutes back on the mat. This can be done one or two more times building on each variation.