The term Setu Bandhasana in Sanskrit means setu=bridge, bandha=bind/lock.
The Bridge Pose, also known as Setu bandha Sarvangasana, is a yoga position that, as the name says, looks like a bridge.
Bridge Pose is only one example of how yoga goes beyond physical alignments, and it fosters the concept of bridging communication and connecting with people and one’s inner self.
STEPS FOR BRIDGE POSE:
- Lie with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, and your heels precisely behind your knees. Your upper arms must remain on the floor while you bend your elbows alongside your ribs and reach your forearms and fingers upwards. It would help if your palms faced each other.
- Bring your shoulder blades onto your upper back, lift your chest, and press your elbows and shoulder heads down to the floor while simultaneously wrapping your outside arms toward the floor. Maintain a vertical line with your sight.
- Press into your feet as you slowly send your knee forward and wrap your outer hips toward the ceiling. Next, pull your buttocks away while keeping your thighs parallel to the floor. Extend the length of your tailbone to reach the back of your knees.
- Bring your shoulder blades closer together and drag them deeper into your upper back while keeping the tops of your shoulders aligned with the base of your neck. Do this by straightening your elbows and interlacing your fingers underneath you.
- Apply light, gentle pressure on the middle of the back of your head by pressing it against the floor. Extend your collarbones outward and lift your chest while moving your sternum closer to your chin.
You should maintain some distance between the base of your neck and the ground while gently moving your chin away from your chest. At the same time that you are lifting your sternum, extend outward through your knees. Take a moment to catch your breath and relax here.
- To free yourself, unlace your fingers and slowly lower your torso until it is on the floor.
Bridge Pose Benefits
- Strengthens, Lengthens, and Stretches:
The Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and pelvic muscles. It also stretches and lengthens the body. To improve their core strength, practitioners of this pose lift their hips, which causes them to press their glutes and the muscles on the outside of their thighs, and they also do a minor stomach tuck. A tucked-in abdomen provides additional support for the lumbar spine.
The chest, the neck, and the hip flexors are all stretched out by holding this pose.
- Flexibility, Range of Motion, Alignment, and Posture:
The bridge generated by using the shoulders and legs as support raises the lower and middle back. The upper back supports this spine movement, preventing the shoulders from drooping and strengthening them simultaneously.
This pose is excellent for correcting posture because it strengthens the lower body, improves hip stability, stretches, and strengthens the spinal column.
- Chest, Diaphragm, and Breathing:
In Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), the practitioner consciously tries to settle the shoulder blades on the mat when the mid-back and lower back are lifted. This allows one to focus on the chest, diaphragm, and breathing.
The shoulders are supported as they are opened because of the grounding provided by the mat, which also expands the front chest. There is some growth in the chest cavity, which increases the amount of lung space. The chest opening is mild. The diaphragm is stretched out, and there is no pause in the breath.
- Awareness and Focus (Concentration):
Bridge Pose (Setu bandha Sarvangasana) requires the practitioner to create awareness of the following physical alignments for you to be able to focus on those alignments with concentration. The feet should be situated such that they are hip-width apart and slightly distant from the buttocks, and the buttocks should not be too near to the feet at any point.
Bridge Pose (Setu bandha Sarvangasana) is invigorating by relieving the muscle stress in the back and strain on the back,
Bridge Pose (Setu bandha Sarvangasana) is also relaxing. The elimination of leg weariness is achieved by performing leg exercises, which also serve to strengthen the knee joints. The mindfulness of the breath and the pose’s alignment creates focus, relieving tension and anxiety.
- Organs and Stimulation:
The brain and the spine are two organs connected to the nervous system. This pose not only relieves tension in the musculoskeletal system but also helps to relax the mind and improves the functioning of the neural system.
- Balance and Emotions:
The concept of “communicating and connecting with people and your inner self” is encouraged via the practice of bridge posture. The pranas travel up the spine to the throat from the base. This posture aligns the throat chakra while balancing the Root chakra, the Sacral chakra, and the Manipur chakra. When the body is in harmony, the mind follows suit, resulting in mental steadiness and emotional fortitude.
Athletes, runners, postnatal women, and even teenagers can benefit from practicing this position because of its ability to develop the abdominal muscles effectively.
The regular practice of yoga prepares the practitioner to attempt more challenging poses that require strength in the shoulders, arms, and core, such as the Plough Pose (Halasana), the Shoulderstand Pose (Sarvangasana), the Wheel Pose Prep (Urdhva Dhanurasana Prep), the Wheel Pose (Chakrasana), and other similar poses.
- What are the contraindications to Bridge Pose?
Inflammation in the discs in your neck and back, as well as knee or hip issues, are both contraindications for the supported bridge pose.
You should avoid Supported Bridge Pose when you are on your menstrual period if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, glaucoma, or a detached retina. Additionally, you should avoid this pose if you have a detached retina.
- What are the points to consider in the Bridge Pose?
You should incorporate bridge posture into your yoga routine if you want to experience a profound frontal stretch and get ready for more difficult backbends.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind when working on your bridge pose:
- Perform a few drills in succession.
Your Vinyasa yoga instructor will most likely guide you through two or three rounds of bridge pose in the majority of the classes that you attend.
If you are practicing bridge pose at home, you should also try performing this repeat: with each round, you can lift your hips higher and bend your back deeper.
- Make contact with the feet.
The deeper you dig into the bottoms of your feet, the higher you will be able to elevate your hips if you do this exercise.
- Direct your breath into the lower abdomen.
When you are in bridge pose, your inhalations and exhalations are extremely important because they can assist you in reaching the state of relaxation and staying in the posture for longer, allowing you to experience the full advantages of its deep stretch.
Take a breath in through your nose and out through your mouth, allowing your stomach to expand as you do so.
Slowly and deliberately, let the breath out.
Take slow, deep breaths as you go into the pose, while you are in the pose, and as you leave the pose.
- Relax your glutes.
Use muscles in your legs to lift your hips, and then allow your glutes to dangle loosely like apples from a tree.