Yoga Poses

Bridge Pose Setu Bandasana

Steps

Lying prone, step the feet in towards the buttocks, hip distance apart. Place the arms by the sides of the body with the blade edge or pinky-finger side down. Roll the shoulders back to open the front of the body. The chest should lift off the floor here, as though there was a fist placed behind the heart. On the exhalation, actively press into the edge of the arms and into the feet to begin lifting the hips up off of the floor. Firm the lower belly by lengthening the back and allowing the tailbone to draw under, lift the pubic bone towards the navel. Use the strength of the hamstrings to lift the thighs parallel to the floor. Make sure the knees are directly above the ankles. To encourage more opening in the front of the chest, clasp the hands behind the back and reach through the arms. To release from Bridge, unclasp the hands and lower the buttocks to the floor, with the exhale, unwind the spine down to the ground.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

Imagine the chest lifting to the sky by a thread attached at the sternum. Lift the heart. Keep the neck long and the throat open.

Technical Comments

Feel a strong connection into the feet. They are the foundation of this posture. Press firmly into the big toe mounds to keep the inner thigh muscles engaged. Make sure the femur bones are parallel to each other.

Encourage students to lift the pubic bone towards the navel to engage the lower belly, rather than lifting it towards the sky. Pushing the pubic bone up to the sky will cause the lumbar spine to tighten and, if performed repeatedly, may cause lower back pain

Benefit Comments

  • Opens the chest and throat, stimulating the thyroid.
  • Strengthens abdominals and hamstrings; stretches the spine.
  • Aids digestion, headaches, backaches, insomnia, menstrual cramps (see modifications), and high blood pressure.
  • Calming effect on the nervous system, helpful for anxiety, fear, depression, and stress.

Watch Out For:

  • Compression in the lower back.
  • Disconnection from the feet- rolling to the outside edges of the feet.
  • Knees dropping out to the sides.
  • The chin resting on the chest, closing off the throat.
  • Feet too far away from the body

Contraindications

  • Persons with severe neck injuries should avoid this posture.
  • Use caution with high blood pressure

Modifications

For difficulty keeping the hips lifted, slide a bolster underneath the pelvis. Restorative Spinal Lift: Begin coming into the posture as above, lifting the hips off of the floor. Place a bolster underneath the pelvis and allow the pelvis to relax down. The arms can be soft by the sides, or, to open the chest, relax the arms overhead. Allow the body to be fully supported. This restorative modification can be held for 5 to 15 minutes.

Variations

Eka Pada Setu Bandhasana-  One Foot Bridge: Keep the left foot firmly pressing into the floor and draw the right knee in towards the chest. Extend the right heel up towards the sky, straightening the leg. Hold for a few breaths; return the foot to the floor and change legs.

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Two-knee Twist
  • Ananda Balasana
  • Paschmottanasana
  • Sarvangasana

Written By: Meghan Aris

Certified in several disciplines of yoga, a pilates teacher and teacher trainer, Meghan is continually widening her path of body/mind studies. At a young age she began her journey into body movement through dance. After being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, she shifted her practice to more rehabilitative yoga. In this discipline she found not only the resources to heal her body, but also a guide to living a life full of peace and joy. She can be found teaching on any given day at The Space Vancouver.

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