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Technique Tip - Improve Your Bridge

Is pressing up into Bridge challenging for you? If so, this tip is for you!

In general, we forward bend much more frequently than backbend which is one reason why backbends don't come easily for us all.

In addition, many of us spend hours hunched over our computers and phones (I'm guilty too) which can lead to tight shoulders, neck misalignments, a weak upper back, tight hips and weak glutes - all of which can cause back pain and not the strongest Bridge position.

Bridge (aka Wheel or Urdhva Dhanurasana in yoga) isn't a position that we typically do in our day-to-day life, which is why it's oh so needed! It's a wonderful way to combat all the forward bending we do, plus it prepares the body for shapes and tricks in the air.

Prior to practicing Bridge make sure you've warmed up your shoulders and given your hip flexors and wrists some attention (arm circles, lunges, cobra, forearms stretches from last week's tip!).

I find the variation shown in the video utilizing blocks makes Bridge more attainable especially if you have shoulder and/or wrist tightness.

Grab a pair of yoga blocks and see the video below.

1) Place two yoga blocks shoulder-distance apart vertically against a wall. Lie on your back with your head between the blocks. 2) Place your palms flat on blocks with fingers draping down. 3) Point elbows straight up, not out to the sides. Elbows pointing out means that your shoulders are moving into internal rotation (instead of external) and over time it can cause damage to the soft tissue in the shoulder and create tightness at the base of the neck and in the upper back. 4) There are different theories on whether your feet should be parallel or turned out in a bridge. If you take a yoga class they will likely cue you to have your feet parallel, hip-distance apart with inner thighs spiraling downward. However, if you're parallel and you have a hard time pressing your hips up and you feel lower back discomfort, a slight external rotation might be better suited for your body. It puts less pressure on your hip ligaments. ⠀ 5) Simultaneously push into your feet and palms, lifting your body up, coming to the crown of your head. 6) Aim to keep your elbows hugging in as you lengthen your arms pressing up into your Bridge. Activate your glutes to support your body in hip extension. The goal is to stack your chin, shoulders and chest over your wrists pressing your chest forward and not toward your heels. 7) Breathe and hold for 10-20 counts. When coming out of it retrace your path, aiming to keep elbows hugging in. A bridge or two a day can help keep bad posture away :)!


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