Sanskrit: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Image of courtesy of Yogajournal.com
What a beautiful Back Bend pose this is! I love doing this pose as it’s shown and also as a restorative pose with a block *under* the sacrum. If you want a good stretch and to feel open as well as to rest in this yummy pose try it with a block. Feels so good and peaceful! 🙂 Take the time to go inward during Bridge pose. (The photo to the right shows her with a block between the legs to help with alignment and adds a little inner thigh work.)
Bridge pose is great for anyone needing to work on back issues. Also, you’re really working the uterus in this pose as well. The varying benefits of this pose are that it stretches the chest, neck, and spine as well as calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression. Bridge pose stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid, rejuvenates tired legs as well as improves digestion. And it also helps relieve the symptoms of menopause, relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported (block under lower spine!), and reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia. This pose is therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis. Seriously, why wouldn’t you do this pose! 🙂
Directions on how to come into the pose:
Begin lying down on your back. During this pose do not move your head or neck. Maintain gaze upward or gazing down towards the belly. If necessary, place a thickly folded blanket under your shoulders to protect your neck. Knees bent, feel flat on the floor. Hands at your sides palms facing down. Allow your heels to come close to your fingertips so you are almost touching your heels. Begin with a few pelvic tilts to loosen up the pelvic and hips area. Slow lift your pelvis up ever so slightly. It’s a subtle movement.
When you are ready slowly lift up your pelvis and hips off the ground, pressing into your feet and arms. Then you may keep your hands where they are or clasp them below your pelvis and extend through the arms to help you stay on the tops of your shoulders. Lift your chin away from the sternum and roll the shoulders blades in towards the spine. Keep your head in line with the spine, no turning. Don’t forget to breathe! Watch the rise and fall of your breath on your belly.
Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. If you want to take it one step further lift your tailbone a little higher and lift up your heels off the ground. Now that’s the stuff. 🙂 On an exhalation release, slowly rolling through the spine down onto the floor. Bring your knees bent into the chest and give them a big hug. Rock from side to side.
When not to do this pose or to modify/Contraindications:
Neck injury: avoid this pose unless you are practicing under the supervision of an experienced teacher.
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