When people say “build a bridge,” it’s often followed by “and get over it.” A bridge takes us from one side to the other. Whenever we’re in a dark, fearful or sad place, building a bridge to a better place – a place of love, acceptance and receptivity - is something we can practice with our body, our breath and our mind. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) offers us a gentle way to open the heart center. Try pairing it with these affirmations to get yourself back to the other side when you need it.
To practice Bridge Pose, lay on your back. Bend your knees so that your feet are on the ground. Reach your hands toward your heels and try to grab them while using your legs to lift your hips toward the sky. Keep your knees in line like two train tracks. Inhale and lift your hips to curve your back like a bridge. If it feels nice, clasp your hands together underneath you. You can use the leverage of your shoulder blades squeezing beneath you to spread open your chest muscles. Keep flexing and lifting your thighs as you breathe deeply.
While breathing in Bridge Pose, choose kind words to speak to yourself. Some of my favorites are: “I am enough.” “All is well.” “I trust the process of life.” “I love and approve of myself.” Pick one short sentence, or even just a word such as “love” and mentally repeat it with each breath. By taking a little time to breathe deeply with an open heart while you speak kindly to yourself, you are building a bridge to love.
Image: Detail from Yoga Teddy Bear: The Story of An Extra Ordinary Bear.