Building a bridge: Unleashing the heart

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by Kali Ray Torres, Yoga Instructor

azfamily.com

Posted on March 25, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 25 at 11:53 AM

As a lover of back bends and an artist that brings all my heart and soul to my work, I never tire from the depth of journeying deep into the bridge pose. Bridge, also known as Setu Bandhasana, is a posture that can be practiced multiple ways.  Though props are not needed to perform this posture, it can also be practiced using blankets or blocks (watch segment).Through practicing this pose, the shoulders open up, the spine, lower back and neck begin to release tension, and the blood flows more freely to the heart.  With regular practice, bridge pose calms the brain, helps improve digestion, reduces anxiety and fatigue, backache, headache and insomnia. This posture is also therapeutic for those who have asthma or high blood pressure and helps to relieve menstrual discomfort.  My favorite aspect of all is that this posture brings a sense of lightness the heart after completion. I have watched students come out of this pose and literally walk with an open heart, less tension in the shoulders and a sense of lightness and ease shows up on the face. Weeks later they begin to share about how great business is going, or the healthy love relationships they are finally beginning to have (with themselves and others).

Build a Bridge
Bridge pose is a  posture that invites surrendering to grace with stability and opening toe the infinite wellspring of prana, or life force. When we build a bridge to discovering the depth of the inner expanse, the body becomes a vehicle for being a more fully self-expressed, allowing the authentic you to naturally shine through. The bridge, is or doorway to freedom that many yoga teachers and students alike, will confess to having had the opportunity of passing through again and again. Just as one doorway or area of the body begins to open, there is another place of infinite expansion beyond that next place when we feel the body vessel open. As the body becomes free of blocks or deep held tensions, the practitioner will start to notice increased energy, more of a balance in mood and attitude and a heightened sense of awareness. All of these qualities begin to breed a deeper sense of aliveness, joy, and overall well being.

Unleashing the Heart
When the heart is unleashed in this manner, ones spirit is fed and a sense of selfless service, or “seva, “ begins to be the action of the heart expressing a playful attitude within the world.  Just like the nurturing mother and hardworking father, this is where the work, the sweat and discomfort that comes with building the bridge turns into the art of unleashing the heart and expanding into what lies beyond the discomfort or emotion, beyond the story of ones past or a projection of the future.

Opening up to the practice from a place of service, puts an offering in your heart and heartfelt makes your offering.  Whether it be to support yourself in being calm and at ease in your daily life, or to share a vision of living a life that is in direct connection to all other beings large or small, knowing that our actions effect others. When we take care of and value ourselves we are also on some level saying we respect our neighbor. Our “house” must reside along side others in a state of balance and order.  Today, open your heart with a bridge; let the expansion continue to reveal itself in how you open your heart to others, in great and small ways. You never know what may be right around the bend. Yoga practice is an opportunity to receive and offer up as much love, light, joy and peace as you are ready to allow in. What are you opening your heart to today?

Namaste,
Kali Ray

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