True Confessions time: Bridge used to be one of my least favorite poses.
I think that deserves a confession because it just seems so weird to me now. Why hate Bridge? I can see where maybe it’s not someone’s favorite pose, but it seems like apathy is a more appropriate response than hate.
My MO, though, is to hate things that I can’t do well. Rather than acknowledge that a pose is challenging, I’d rather just go ahead and eliminate it from my repertoire. Okay, well; I’d actually rather approach it with grace, equanimity, and a sense of humor. But that doesn’t happen (at least not often).
I think one reason that I hate(d) Bridge is because of something I didn’t used to like to tell people: my boobs suffocate me a little in that pose, as they do in almost all backbends and inversions. I tried talking them into cooperating and opposing gravity, but they won’t listen. They’re very stubborn that way.
Then one day I happened upon Megan Garcia’s book, MegaYoga. She talks about a novel use of the strap–binding your breasts. Now, it’s not advisable to wear a binding garment for your entire yoga practice because you need to be able to move around relatively freely. However, by a simple cinch of a strap, I can now practice Bridge without fear of death-by-boob-smush.
Here’s how you can do it, too:
1. While sitting down (or standing up, but before you lie down on your mat), bring a yoga strap behind your back so that you can hold an end in each hand.
2. Move the strap so that the back of it is in line with the back of your bra (where the clasps are in most cases)–or slightly above it.
3. Buckle your strap (this process is different depending on what kind of strap you have) and cinch it in towards your boobs. The strap should be near the top of your breasts. Remember, the goal is to keep them from falling into your face when you’re upside down, so having the strap at the bottom of your boobs isn’t helpful. You can see from the pic above that this isn’t necessarily the most flattering look, but it works.
4. Check that the strap is secure and comfortable and that the buckle won’t be digging into your skin.
5. Proceed into Bridge. One of my favorite things is to place a yoga block under my sacrum (not my low back! See above.) and chill out there for a couple minutes. The beautiful thing about the block is that you can place it on any of its three settings: low, medium, or high (note: even though the block above looks slightly tilted, it shouldn’t be. This one was straight in person, but the camera made it look off for some reason. My explanation skills are better than my camera skills, so I went with it). My back always feels so good after this long-held, supported Bridge.
6. Experiment with some other backbends and/or inversions while the strap is still on. If you’re done, though, just go ahead, uncinch, and remove the strap.
7. Give Bridge pose some love! (Okay, that one’s probably just for me.)