Strengthen your back, legs, buttocks

Katrina Owens
Lakeside Leader

This week’s stretch is called ‘bridge pose’ and is good for your back, buttocks, hips and more. Lori Whitby of Slave Lake Smiling Dog Yoga says start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet a few inches apart.
“Draw the heels close to the buttocks, directly under the knees. Bridge can be either a calming restorative pose or a strengthening one. Press your feet into the floor to activate your glutes as you lift your hips up,” she says. “Use your core muscles to stabilize your torso and engage the muscles in the inner thighs to keep the knees from splaying out. Open a cross the chest and tuck your shoulder blades underneath you for even more openness. Lengthen through the neck to keep from constricting the throat.”
Modifications and props:
Place a yoga block under your buttocks to support the back in a restorative pose.
Beginner’s tip:
The knees will want to splay open because most people have weak inner thighs. Try placing a yoga block between your knees and holding there as you go up to help keep you inline and develop those inner thigh muscles.
Make it more challenging:
You can try to clasp your hands below your back or bed your elbow and place your thumbs under your low back to turn this pose into a back bend. Try lifting one leg up at time, to add more strength-building to the pose.
Benefits:
Strengthens the back, buttocks, hip flexors, legs and ankles also opens the chest to help promote better posture. Massages kidney, thyroid and adrenal glands.
Cautions:
Neck issues, low back or knee use should use the modified version.

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