Bridge Pose: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
This month, we highlight bridge pose or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
This pose is about everything a back bend has to offer! Bridge is a chest-opening posture that offers relief to the entire area of the low spine while it helps create endurance & flexibility!
About this pose
Bridge pose can improve your posture and counter the effects of all the prolonged sitting we do throughout the day. This pose can relieve low back pain & can counteract slouching and kyphosis (abnormal curvature of the spine). The pose gently stretches your abdomen, chest, and the area around your shoulders while strengthening your back muscles, buttocks (glutes), thighs, and ankles.
In Sanskrit, Bridge pose is Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, which translates to bridge. In effect, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is named after the bridge-like shape the body makes while in this pose.
The huge benefit you will feel immediately is ease in the low lumbar. In fact, this pose is often used by people with herniated disc issues. The posture gently moves the disc to the opposite direction from the pain relieving the pressure from a slipped or herniated disc.
Our spines naturally curve, bridge pose counteracts that.Rregardless of your spine health this pose is essential to maintaining mobility and flexibility in the spine.
Proper form and technique are essential to ensure the safety and effectiveness of a yoga practice. If you have a previous or pre-existing health condition, consult your physician before practicing yoga. Postures may be modified based on your individual needs.
- Lie on your back in the center of your mat with your knees bent, your legs and feet parallel and about hip-distance apart.
- Move your feet closer to your buttocks. Press down firmly through both of your feet and inhale as you raise your hips, lifting from the pubic bone rather than the navel.
3. Place your hands down on the floor with your palms down or clasp your hands under your back on the floor. Broaden your collarbones and get on top of your shoulders. Firm the outer shins and roll your upper thighs inward. Press down firmly through your heels and lift the back of your thighs and the bottom of your buttocks even higher while keeping the thighs parallel.
4. To finish, release your hands and lower to the floor while you’re breathing out. Allow your back to rest in a neutral state as you observe the spaciousness within your chest.
- To activate your inner thighs and glutes, place a block between your knees and hold it there firmly as you lift and lower your hips.
- Take your time working on lifting up into bridge with control. You might like to practice coming in and out of the pose a few times first before holding the pose for a few breaths.
- Pay close attention to your knees, don’t allow them to fall out wider than your feet as you rise upwards. If you find this happens you can squeeze a yoga block between your thighs as you come up.
- If you find it difficult to hold the lift in your pelvis, slide a block or bolster beneath your sacrum and rest the pelvis on it for support. In contrast, if you are looking to deepen the stretch, lift your heels off the floor once in bridge pose and push your tailbone up towards the pubis. Once the tailbone is lifted, stretch the heels back to the floor.
Next time you are on your mat, play around with these alignment tips and find what works best for you. Everybody is different; your bridge pose is as unique as your teacher’s or your friend’s.
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