Setubandhasana - The Bridge Pose

At a Glance

This asana's name is a very accurate description of the posture: Setu translates to "bridge", and bandha to "joining". Partial inversion and partial backbend, Setubandhasana is a unique combination of two of the main asana categories. As simple as this pose may seem, it requires very specific pelvis alignment and sufficient core engagement for safe back bending, and constitutes excellent foundation work for inversions such as Shoulder Stand and Plow Pose. The pose stretches the chest, neck and spine as well as the reproductive and digestive organs. It calms the mind and boosts mood, helping with anxiety, fatigue, and depression.

POSE TYPE
Supine pose

POSE CATEGORY
Back Bending

ORIGIN
Tirumalai Krishnamacharya

SANSKRIT
Setubandhasana
सेतुबन्धासन

PRONUNCIATION
SET-too BAHN-dAHS-anna

TRANSLATION
Bridge (Setu). Join (Bandha)
Pose (Asana) – Bridge Pose

Performance

STARTING
Lie in a supine position on the ground, making sure that the head is in line with the spine. Bend the knees, and place the feet at a distance to the buttocks, keeping them parallel and hip distance apart.

ENTERING
The arms are alongside the torso. The shoulders are rolled backward to bring them close to each other.
Peel the spine off the floor vertebrae by vertebrae while keeping the head and the top of the shoulders on the ground. Raise the chest and navel as high as possible, and push the chest towards the chin by pressing firmly into the legs. Keep the feet and shoulders in the same position. The soles of the feet remain flat on the floor.
The hands may be interlocked, or the palms may face the ground. Very flexible students can aim to hold their ankles with the hands. In any case the lower legs have to be kept perpendicular to the ground, avoiding strain on the knees.
In the final position, the body is supported by the head, neck, shoulders, arms, and feet.

RELEASING
Slowly release the hips down onto the ground, straighten the legs, and rest flat on the ground for the awareness phase.

Effects

PHYSIOLOGICAL
- Stretches the chest, neck, and spine.
- Stimulates lungs and thyroid.
- Stretches the colon and abdominal organs.
- Tones the female reproductive organs.

ENERGETIC
Activates the Navel Chakra and the Throat Chakra.

PSYCHOLOGICAL
- Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression.
- Reduces anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia.

Contra-Indications

- Peptic or duodenal ulcer
- Abdominal hernia
- Advanced stages of pregnancy
- Neck injury

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