Yoga Break 5: Bridge Pose & English Breakfast

 A gentle backbend stretch
A gentle backbend stretch
The primary accomplishment of Bridge (aka Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) is to put you in a very awkward position.

You're on your back, totally open to predators like your mom, who still isn't used to hearing weird thumps and sounds emanating from your room. From an evolutionary standpoint, it seems ridiculous. What were those ancient yogis thinking?

Yet Bridge is one of the most beneficial poses in your yoga arsenal, because Bridging is an antidote to sitting.

Oh yes.

It gets your body out of the tight, uncomfortable space that it's been accustomed to all week. By Bridging, in one fell swoop you're hips and chest to the glories of the world — and relearning to support your spine while you're at it. For those who suffer from chronic lower back pain, there are a multitude of Bridge variations that are often prescribed for physical therapy. Once you master this simple version, you can look forward to getting it on with a single leg, kick-outs, barbell, etc. A full Wheel is the pinnacle of this skill — just look at the pros.

A hardy, useful pose like this needs a hardy, useful tea to go with it. English Breakfast is your guy for the job. It's stalwart, honest, and the high caffeine yield makes it worth it to set your alarm a little earlier than usual for today's yoga practice. (Don't worry. Even experienced yogis need a little extra motivation sometimes.) With black tea's splendid punch of l-theanine for focus, there is nothing in the world that can take down your London Bridge.

However, if caffeine is problematic, just grab a cup of Honeybush Chocolate. You'll feel fortified by the lush, oaken smell, with the added lift of cocoa goodness to set your Bridge tall and strong against the wind. It's even safe to drink before bed.

Step 1. If you've followed along from the other Yoga Breaks, you already know how to prep like a pro. Awesome. Just get that water, tea, and cup going. Both English Breakfast and Honeybush Chocolate take boiling water, so you don't have to worry about finicky steep times. Measure out one teaspoon of leaves per eight ounces of water into your infuser. Roll out your yoga mat while you wait for the dang water to boil.

Step 2. Water's on! Set the cup to steep. You'll want at least 2 minutes of good steep time, which is perfect to practice your Bridge.

Step 3. Lie back on the yoga mat, knees bent and feet comfortably apart. Your lower body — feet and knees — should be the same width as your shoulders. Hands rest by your sides, because when it's all lower lumbar action, then they aren't invited to the party.

Breathe and lift your hips up. Sacrum to the ceiling! Support with your glutes and lower back. The more butt, the better. Glutes are the foundation for your pelvic support system, and Bridging is one of the few ways to target them directly.

Work on holding this for the full two minutes. If you can't off the bat, then that's fine. Normal. Just work on it.

Step 4. When the 2 minutes are up and your tea is ready, lower yourself gently to the floor, vertebrae by vertebrae. Relish the fact that for once, you really put your back into something.

Step 5. Sip and savor the moment.