Asana Practice

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana ~ Bridge

In Bridge, the bones of your limbs support your spine in an energizing and uplifting backbend. Bridge strengthens the legs and hips, massages the spine, counteracts the effects of prolonged sitting, and opens the heart. With practice, the body/mind will simultaneously feel energized and at peace.

These instructions do not replace working with a teacher. If you have a chronic condition including back, neck, or joint pain and/or need more support, please contact me. Adjusting the asanas and practices to your needs and constitution is my specialty and one of the many benefits of working together in one-on-one sessions. 

Setting the foundation of the form:

  • Lie on your back, arms to your sides, shoulder distance apart, palms up. Begin with your arms shoulder distance apart and gradually advance to interlacing your hands.
  • Soften tension around your spine and abdomen. Then bend your knees and place the soles of your feet on the floor, hips distance apart and parallel. Your shin bones should create a straight line from knees to your feet.
  • If your knees splay out or turn in, readjust the placement of your feet or use a block to engage your inner thighs. This will stabilize your pelvis. 

Moving into the form:

  • On an exhalation, root down through your feet and isometrically draw your feet toward your shoulders. This will guide your pelvis to a neutral position using your hamstring muscles. Feel the natural tone the action of your feet brings to your lower abdomen and along the front of your spine. 
  • Keep your breath flowing to soften any tendency to force or apply excessive effort.
  • Before allowing your pelvis to float up position your shoulders (humerus bones) to support your weight. Draw one shoulder at a time toward your spine, without pulling your shoulder blades down. Maintain length in your side body.
  • Let your shoulder bones drop toward the floor, lift and broaden your chest without flattening your neck or locking your low back. 
  • Gaze down into your heart center, breathe, and sustain the action in your feet and legs, Lengthen through your front body.
  • Do not force to match the photo. Move slowly, align with your breath, and inhabit your body with sensitivity. Explore gradual micro- movements.

Coming Out of the Form:

  • Press down through your feet, legs, and arms. 
  • On an exhalation slowly lower your pelvis and spine, maintaining length in your side body.
  • Rest and feel your body’s response to the form.
  • Draw your legs into your chest as a counter-form.

Different active variations to explore:

  • Move your feet closer or further apart. Your shins should form a straight line from knees to feet.
  • Change the depth of your breath.
  • Bend your arms at the elbows to root down as you create more lift and broadening in the chest area.
  • Sense when you are forcing or experiencing tension in your low back, neck, throat, or face and modulate your form accordingly.


  • Back, neck, and shoulder/joint injuries or other chronic conditions.
Asana Practice

Balasana – Child’s Pose

Balasana is a quintessential asana to stabilize and soothe your whole being. The entire front of the body including the head is supported, providing spaciousness to the back of the lungs, and expansion of the back ribs. The gaze of the eyes and focus of attention is turned inward toward the mind’s source and childlike joy.

The deepening of the breath and slowing down of brain functions enhances the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for deepening our capacity to rest and digest. 

Practice Steps: 

  • Begin on all fours in Table on a stable and soft surface – use a blanket on your mat or mat on a rug. 
  • Allow your breath to flow as you exhale down into your hands and guide your hips and belly back.
  • By pressing down into your hands, elongate your spine, and tissues around your torso, before releasing your torso on or between your legs. 
  • Your body should feel comfortable and able to relax. If not, explore the variations below or engage help from a teacher.
  • Close your eyes and let your face relax. 
  • Allow your breath to dome your back body, widening your shoulders, back ribs, waistline, and sacral area.
  • Imagine and sense releasing tension from the midline of your back horizontally and down along the sides of your body from hips to crown.
  • Progressively lengthen your time in the asana from two to eight minutes, with ease.

VariationsIf you are not comfortable, experiment with variations:

  • Take your knees and/or hands wider.
  • Place a folded blanket or bolster support between your buttocks and heels.
  • Support your forehead with stacked hands or folded blanket. 
  • Raise and support your entire torso on a bolster, bolster angled with a block, or on the seat of a padded chair.


  • knee injuries
  • pregnancy

Need more support? Contact me. Adjusting the asanas and practices to your needs and constitution is one of the many benefits of working together in one-on-one sessions. 

Asana Practice

Asana – Side-Lying Restorative 

Side-Lying Restorative Asana enhances the capacity for movement of the intercostal muscles on the sides of your body and your diaphragm. These muscles lift the ribs during inhalation and draw the ribs down during exhalation. When these muscles are tight, movement of the rib cage and respiration are limited. By releasing tension breathing is enhanced.

Setting Up:

Lie over a stack of two or more single-fold blankets or bolster so your left waist is well-supported at the center. Neither your hips nor your shoulders should touch the floor. Make sure you are lying on your side, not rolled onto your front or back body. Stretch your legs in a scissored position, right leg over the left when on your left side.

When you are on your left side, you should feel a moderate sensation along the right side of your body. To add intensity, raise your arms overhead and let them rest on the floor or on a support. Let your head rest on your left arm. Balance the stretch of your arms by stretching your legs and rooting down through your feet. 

Being There: 
Stay for 30 seconds to several minutes, gradually increasing the time. Take natural, slow breaths, feeling the breath in the right (top) side. Open to the movement of the breath, to the release, and to the pleasant feeling that can come from this asana. This will also provide a release for the muscles of your hip, thigh, and stimulate the function of your liver. 

Coming Back:
When you feel ready, bend your knees, place your palms on the floor, press down, and slowly sit up. Turn and lie on your right side and repeat. On the right side in addition to the tissue release, you will stimulate the functions of the stomach and spleen. 

If you experience lower back discomfort, make sure you are not rolled toward your abdomen or back. Try moving the support, up, down, or lowering the support. If nothing relieves discomfort, skip the form for now. 

Do not practice this asana if you are more than three months pregnant, have a hiatal hernia, or during menstruation.

Photo and Instructions from Relax & Renew, Judith Lasater, Ph.D., P.T.

Asana Practice

Vrksasana – Tree

Stand naturally. With focused attention down through the bones of your pelvis, legs and into your feet, yield to the earth. Breathe.

Adapt the form! If you struggle with balance, begin with your back at the wall for support and gradually move away. You will build strength, resilience, and access ease over time. 

Fan your toes and press down evenly through the balls of your foot and central point of your heel.

Keeping your breath flowing and attention on the sensations in your body, lift your other foot and actively press it against the inside of your opposite leg, not on any joint. Play with harmonizing your actions..

Move slowly and progressively. Adapt the form to your body. Your foot might be on the ground in ‘kick-stand’ fashion or between your ankle and knee. 

Explore the asana regularly and allow your arms to reach up toward the sky as a corresponding action to your connection to ground.

Feel the dynamic energy connecting you to earth, sky, and sun through the center of your body. This force of nature is simultaneously stimulating and soothing for body/mind – stability (sthira) and comfort, ease or flow (sukham).