BRIDGE POSE

In this pose you automatically become more alert in both body and mind, and it opens the heart area and increases flexibility in the spine. As you breathe into your chest, bring your awareness to Anahata, the heart chakra to release emotions and express compassion.
How To Perform 

• Bend your knees and place your heels directly under your knees hip-width apart.
• Ground your feet to the earth, extend arms either side of you, palms down.
• Engage the core to protect back, tailbone towards your navel.
• Now lift the lower middle upper back off ground, maintaining tailbone tilt.
• Firmly press the inner heels down, keeping knees in line with hips.
• Keep your buttocks soft, legs strong.
• Roll the shoulder blades under.
• Lift onto the back of shoulders extending your arms away, interlocking hands into a fist.
• Keep shoulder blades firmly into back.
• Keep the natural curve and space of the neck, chin slightly away to release tension in throat.
• Gently move the pubis towards the navel, and continue to breath into the chest for 5- 10 breaths.
• As you exhale, release hands palms flat, slowly lowering the lower middle upper back to ground.
• Once grounded, hug both knees to chest and roll side to side.

Benefits 

• Stretches chest, neck, spine and hips.
• Strengthens back, buttocks and hamstrings.
• Calms the brain and nervous system.
• Stimulates the lungs and thyroid glands.
• Improves digestion.
• Helps relieve symptoms of menopause.

Contraindications 

• Neck injuries.
• Chronic shoulder or back pain.
• Pregnancy 1st trimester.

Modifications

• Place a blanket under shoulders to release compression of the throat.
• Place a block under you to support the sacrum.
• Lift half way so your spine stays in straight line, shoulders to the knees.
• Increase by lifting onto balls of the feet to lift hips higher, lowering the heels but still maintaining height.

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