This is the latest article in our yoga central series and today we will be looking at a pose known as bridge pose or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana. We will look at how to properly carry out the pose, the benefits you can get from it and anything that you need to consider before beginning. Please read the entire article before trying the pose.
How to Carry Out the Pose
We have put together instructions on how to carry out the pose correctly however there are also a number of modifications that can be done to make the pose easier as well as deeper. These modifications will be found lower in the article.
1. Begin the pose by lying flat on your back with your legs outstretched and your arms by your sides. If you have any problems with your neck you might want to support it by placing a blanket under your shoulders. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Bring you heels as close to your sitting bones as possible.
2. As you exhale press your inner feet and arms against the floor and lift your bottom. You should firm the bottom but not harden it. Make sure your thighs are parallel to your inner feet. Place your arms under your pelvis and extend through the arms to rest on the top of your shoulders.
3. Lift your bottom higher so that the thighs are parallel to the floor and the knees are over the heels. You should make sure you push the knees forward away from the hips and lengthen the tailbone towards the knees.
4. Lift your chin so that you move it away from the chest and firm the shoulder blades against the back. At the same time you should press the sternum towards the chin. Firming your outer arms you should broaden the shoulder blades and lift the space between them at the base of the neck up into the torso.
5. Remain in the pose for 30 - 60 seconds and then you should roll your spine gently down on to the floor with an exhalation.
Tips and Precautions
If you have a neck injury then you should avoid practising this pose unless you have expert supervision as you could do yourself more damage. Also if you are new to this pose it is important to avoid pulling the shoulders away from the ears as this can over stretch the neck.
One variation on this pose to increase the intensity can be done by bringing the right knee in against the body on an exhalation. Then as you inhale extend the leg perpendicular to the floor, hold for 30 seconds and then as you exhale return it to the floor and repeat with the other leg. You can deepen the pose by lifting the heels off the floor and pushing your tailbone closer the pubis. Leaving your tailbone where it is lower your heels back to the floor.
Benefits and Focus
This pose will help to stretch out the chest, neck and spine and stimulate the abdominal organs, lungs and thyroid. This means that it can help to rejuvenate tired legs and to improve your digestion. One of the biggest advantages of this pose is that it can calm the brain which makes it very useful for stress and mild depression. In addition it can help to relieve menopause symptoms as well as menstrual cramps. The pose can be useful at reducing anxiety, fatigue, backache, headaches and insomnia. Finally it is also useful for conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and sinusitis.