Yoga for Sleep the supported bridge pose
The Supported Bridge Pose
After a long day, we may feel like we have been carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. By the time we get to bed, it is no wonder our necks are sore and our voices feel tired. Fortunately, yoga offers a great solution to the problem. The supported bridge pose, a powerful staple of my Thyroid Yoga™ method, will help relieve the body from stress and set you up for a peaceful, restful sleep.
Deep relaxation is a must for physical and mental health. This restorative yoga pose releases tension from anxiety, rests your heart, cools and soothes your busy brain, gives you a gentle abdominal stretch, and expands your chest. It is also a great way to counter the effects of a day spent in a chair, or sitting in traffic. Finally, it stimulates the balance of the thyroid and parathyroid glands.
I recommend that you spend at least 3 minutes in a supported bridge pose each day. Even if you only have a short time to practice, consider this the highest priority for achieving deep, organic rest.
The Supported Bridge Pose
- Rest on your back with your knees bent. Make sure your upper inner thighs roll in, so your knees are moving straight forward and not out to the side. You may also use a yoga strap around your thighs to help you hold that position.
- Press your feet into the floor and deeply inhale as you lift your hips as high as you can. Come onto your toes to get more height for a moment.
- Slip one or two blocks, widest side up, under your sacrum, the bony triangle at the base of your spine. Your sacrum should rest comfortably on the block, so adjust as necessary to find this place. Make sure to position the block closer to your tailbone than to your waist.
- Once you have found your sweet spot, place your palms on your hip bones and gently press them down towards your feet and out to the sides. This traction will expand your lower back and signal to your adrenals – located on top of your kidneys at your lower back – to relax.
- Rest your arms alongside your body with your palms face up. Then, roll your upper arms to face the ceiling. Press your shoulder blades into your back ribs to help lift and open your chest.
- Hold that position. The first time you try the pose, stay there for a few minutes. As you get used to it, lengthen your stay. Five minutes is a reasonable goal, 10 or more can be divine.
- When you’re ready to release the pose, press down with your feet to lift your hips and pelvis up. Remove the blocks and lower your back to the floor slowly, letting each vertebrae gently meet the earth. Pause here for a moment to feel the sweetness wash over you.
- If this feels really good and you’d like to increase your height, place your feet onto your bed or chair to lift your hips up even higher and slide a third block under your sacrum. Extend your legs and feel the space you are creating around your digestive organs, lungs, heart, and throat.
- Rest on the floor with your knees bent for a breath or two. Then, roll to the right-hand side and sit up, floating sweetly into bed.
You are your own healer.
Integrate this gift of daily self-care into your nightly routine. The more frequently you do this pose before bed, the more you will see your quality of rest improve, as well as the vibrancy of your life!
Fern Olivia is the founder of Thyroid Yoga® and Ajai Alchemy.
Combining her education in Biomedical Engineering with her studies in yoga and integrative nutrition, Fern Olivia has created Thyroid Yoga®, a unique approach to supporting thyroid health.
In addition to teaching, retreats, events, and speaking on the topics of holistic health and self-expression, her course is a best-seller on MindBodyGreen and she trains wellness leaders and practitioners in her Thyroid Yoga® training, now available internationally. Fern Olivia is also the founder of Ajai Alchemy, an all organic essential oil fragrance brand specifically formulated with synergistic hormone balancing and aphrodisiac benefits.
Through her authentic storytelling, media platforms, and new TV show, Sensual Intelligence, Fern Olivia has inspired a mass movement of conscious self-expression and holistic health.