Bridge Pose (Figure 2.34) is a backbend that also strengthens the thighs. Your child may only be able to raise his hips a little at the beginning ofthe practice, but as strength and flexibility increase, the pose will get easier. This backbend also exposes the chest and heart to the sky. He may be instructed to think about his worries and anxiety floating out of his body through his uplifted chest.
There should not be strain on any part of the body in this pose. However, the legs will feel like they are being exercised. This pose helps children with ASDs to get in touch with the chest and heart. It also relieves tension. The hard work of the legs may help to expel excess energy and anxiety.
Children can benefit from seeing themselves as a bridge that has to be very strong to hold up the cars and trucks that roll over them. The vehicle idea usually provides them with enough encouragement to perform this pose. If your child does not respond to the vehicle visualization, you should try to think ofanother bridge-related idea. In this pose, visualization seems to help children hold the pose for a longer period.
Your child's legs may get tired quickly. We suggest that you encourage him not to collapse. If necessary, you may support his torso with your arms until he is familiar and comfortable with the pose. We are often pleased at the enthusiasm that children show for practicing this pose.
1. Lay on your back on the mat with your arms by your sides and take a deep breath.
2. Bend your knees and push your feet firmly into the ground.
3. Touch your feet with your hands. This is where your feet should remain. Your feet should be about a foot apart.
4. Leaving your arms at your sides and pushing down into your feet, slowly begin to raise your hips to the sky.
5. Roll your shoulders under and begin to lift your chest toward your chin, as your hips rise into the air.
6. As your chest is being lifted, you may clasp your hands together underneath your hips to help further raise your hips and chest.
7. Make sure your shoulders are rolling under, as this movement will bring more opening to your chest.
8. Take three deep breaths in this pose. Think about your feet pressing firmly into the floor, the strength of your thighs lifting the hips, and your chest rising to the sky. Come down slowly and lie on your back for a couple of moments to let your body absorb the benefits of back bending poses.
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