Sometimes doing nothing in Yoga includes doing something. By that I mean using the strength of the physical body as the starting place for relaxing into a restorative posture. Such is the case with the Supported Bridge position.
With the pelvis propped and supported and the feet anchored firmly against the earth, the Supported Bridge creates a somatic passageway for easing into tranquility in an effortless way.
To begin, you’ll need a non skid mat, if you have one, if not, that’s okay too. 2 pillows from your bed, one stacked on top of the other. Something to go over your eyes, like an eye pillow or a small soft blanket. Loose comfortable clothing is perfect for doing this posture.
Speaking of doing the posture, here’s how:
- Stack one pillow on top of the other lengthwise. Place the stacked pillows in the middle of your mat, width-wise, so the narrow sides of the pillows are facing either side of the mat’s longest edges.
- Come down onto your mat bringing the back of your pelvis to rest against the stacked pillows, Allow yourself to lie down on your back, with your arms to help you get there. Bring your feet to rest against the mat about hip width apart with the knees bent.
- Then, bring the arms to rest along side the body, with the palms of the hands facing earthward.
Allow yourself to do something central to your Yoga practice: Notice the position of your body. How does it feel? Are you ready to practice, or, does your body need more adjusting to get into just the right spot. Allow yourself to listen to your body give it what it needs.
- Then, allow yourself to notice the position of your neck. Is it safe and free of discomfort here?
- Do you need another pillow underneath your hips for a deeper experience, or does it feel just right with 2? Consider carefully your answer to this question. Higher is not necessarily better here. It’s finding the place for the pelvis that feels just right, where your body feels cradled in the position, while at the same time feeling, good. It’s from this place that the magic can happen.
Rest here in this position for as long as it feels comfortable to do so. Breathe deeply here, with the breath rising on the flow of the inhalation, and falling on the flow of the exhalation. And as you breathe here in this way, allow your body to relax a little further into this position. Savor what you feel.
- To come out of this position, gently lift the pelvis up off of the stacked pillows. In your own way, remove the pillows from underneath your body, then slowly, with both hands and arms resting firmly against the mat or floor, lower the spine back down onto the mat.
- Then, allow yourself to draw both knees into the chest, and bring both hands clasping around the knees. Rest here for a few moments, giving the lower back a gentle stretch in the opposite direction to the Supported Bridge.
- When you’re ready, release both hands from around the knees, and return the right and left feet back down onto the mat. Then from there, extend both legs one at a time flat down onto the mat.
Rest here in Savasana, or the Corpse position, for as long as you’d like. Feel what you’re feeling in your body here. Allow yourself to enjoy the way you feel.
Symbolically, the Bridge position refers to the notion of depending on our own foundation. That is, depending not only on the lower body to support us in this position, but also on the knowledge we’ve learned in life thus far. Do I have sufficient foundational knowledge to go on? If not, what is it that I might need?
Physically, the Bridge position is another Yoga posture that calms and soothes the restless mind. It strengthens the lower body while undoing its tensions, and in the course thereof, creating a bridge to tranquility.