Supporting Self

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Each week we are be exploring a restorative yoga pose or breathing technique with images/video and tips.  Check in at Lacuna Loft on Wednesdays to anchor your week with peace, grounding + community (and don’t forget to join the dialogue all week long by posting comments).  Excited to journey together!

Sometimes being soft towards ourselves can be the hardest work of all.

I started doing yoga because it was convenient.  There was a dance studio two blocks from my house with a class and I started going.  It was my “off” day from other more strenuous workouts.  Often I would even go for a run before class so that it felt like a real workout.  I ran regularly and did barre classes that worked all my muscle groups till I shook.  I was teaching my body who was in control and I felt like I needed to sweat (the more the merrier) for movement to ‘count’.  Yoga was a break.

So when something in yoga started calling to a deeper part of me and I started going to classes maybe twice or three times a week, I wanted them to be challenging.  If a teacher offered a modification to make the pose harder, I did it.  Even if I wasn’t really ready for it.  I wanted to sweat and feel sore.  I went to hot yoga and power vinyasa and would even work the studio package and sometimes go to more than one class a day.  I loved my teacher training days because I was physically working my body towards its limits.

And then I moved, found a studio to teach at, and was subbing a lot of gentle yoga.  At first, I wasn’t even sure what gentle yoga meant.  Like, do we put pillows under our head during headstands?  So I went to a few classes and I did some research on gentle and restorative poses, took lots of notes, planned a class, practiced it a few times before teaching… and loved it.

As I was practicing being so hard on my body, I was also being hard on myself in my thoughts.  Tough girl, independent, in control, always put-together.  I had standards for myself that were difficult to reach, and a lot of “should”s.  And entering into a whole hour (or more!) of gentle yoga where I was meant to move slowly, purposefully, supported, and restfully… was magical to say the least.  For the whole hour I was allowed to nurture myself in body and mind.  Sensitive thoughts that had remained hidden away from my strong pushy self began to pop up and teach me more about myself.  A deep sense of peace and calm filled me.  I didn’t need the hardest pose to feel satisfied.

Check out this supported version of bridge.  I know, full wheel (urdva don urasana) is the hardest variation, then bridge, and then this is the ‘easiest’.  Which is awesome because it means we can do it anytime in the day when we need to practice a little self-love and find a little peace.

Ingredients:

one big stiff pillow or block

soft floor

Lay down flat on your back with the block or pillow near you at your side.  Bend your knees and plant your feet on the ground, about hips distance apart.  Reach your arms down and see if you can touch your heels with your fingers, this is a good distance for most people but adjust as you need.  Feel your shoulder blades against the floor.  Feel your feet deep into the earth.  Press into your feet and raise your hips into the air.  Place the support under your sacrum – that triangle shaped bone just above the tail of your spine.  Rest your lower back down onto the support.  Breathe deep and full, expanding your lungs with each inhale.  Feel your chest rise and lift towards your chin.  Revel in the simplicity and support of this pose and enjoy the benefits of a little TLC!

Have you tried this support version of the yoga bridge pose before?  We’d love to hear your experiences as you journey!