Learning how to modify your physical practice of yoga a liberating feeling! And knowing how and when to use props like blocks can help you feel more confident in any class, even if the teacher doesn't offer modifications.
So when the class starts to wind down, Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) is often a welcomed relief. Yet sometimes we're tired or our shoulders are stiff, and we can lose the integrity of the pose.
So here are two great ways to support yourself with a block and still get all the benefits this pose, including stretching the hip flexors, opening the chest and lengthening the spine, as well as calm the brain and reduce anxiety, fatigue and backache.
Start by laying on your back with your knees bent and feet hips-width distance apart, drawing your heels in toward your sit bones. For a more active experience, you can place the block between your inner thighs. Press down into your feet and inhale to lift the hips.
But rather than interlace your fingers behind you as you normally would, press your upper arms and elbows into the ground and bend the arms at 90 degrees with your fingertips pointing toward the sky. From here, gently hug your outer upper arms and shoulders toward one another. Keep squeezing the block between your thighs to help keep the hips lifted, and lengthen your spine. Then, exhale to slowly lower.
Alternatively, for a more restorative variation you can lift the hips and use the block underneath your sacrum to support your hips and pelvis. There are three levels of the block, so find the one that works for you. From here, keep your arms active while you deepen the breath.
To come out, you might try lowering the block and taking a few breaths before lowering all the way down to the floor.
I believe yoga can work for any body if we keep trying new modifications to make us feel great. Sometimes all we need are slight variations to feel more confident in any pose or class.