Courtesy of Google images

The dreaded bridge pose. Courtesy of Google images.

I was a cheerleader back in my high school glory days and used to stretch for hours a day. That’s why I enjoy yoga — it makes me set aside time just for stretching, a forgotten hobby of mine.

One of the stretches I used to hate doing in cheer practice was bridge pose. Bridge — in many modifications — is a popular yoga pose and despite its benefits being impeccable, I still don’t like doing it.

I shiver in dislike whenever I hear I have to do it. ”Should I run to the bathroom, pretend I need a drink of water, or just lie in savasana and fake tired?” my mind immediately asks — trying desperately to conoct excuses to get out of the pose. “Ssh,” I silence my nervous chatter, “I’m doing it,” I say reassuringly.

I listened as the instructor demonstrated how to properly perform the pose, so injuries were avoided. As I watched her, I geared up and prepared to get into the pose. As I slowly entered, I focused not on my dislike for bridge, but for perfecting the move.

My mind cleared and forgetting about how much I didn’t want to do it allowed me to actually enjoy it.

My teacher urged us to not only build a physical bridge, but an emotional one to let go of a feeling we didn’t want. I guess mine was getting over the hump just doing it.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Focus on a place, person, thing, feeling –anything really — with which you want to emotionally connect. This will build your emotional bridge.

2. Lying on your back, bend your legs and scoot your feet as close to your butt as possible. Lift your hips, with your pelvic area leading, to the sky.

3. Make sure your neck tucks into your chest and your head looks straight to the ceiling.

4. Place your arms by your side, palms down. Try not to put too much weight on them.

5. For a more advanced pose, roll your right shoulder under and bring your right hand beneath your body. Do the same to the left side and clasp your hands underneath your body, stretching your shoulders and arms. Do not pull or strain, just hold the move.

6. Breathe. Close the eyes. Hold for a minute or two, or however long you feel comfortable. Focus on pushing the hips out.

7. To safely come out, unroll the arms if they under your body, lower slowly down from the tip of your neck down your spine to your sacrum (area above the butt). Straighten your legs, flip your arms up with palms facing the sky, and rest in savasana.

Yoga high: 2.0