Bridge Pose or Spinal Lift Pose
- Streches your chest, neck, spine and hips.
- Strengthens your back, buttocks, and hamstring muscles.
- Calms your brain and central nervous system which helps alleviate stress and mild depression.
- Massages abdominal organs and improves digestion.
- Stimulates the lungs and thyroid glands and helps relieve the symptoms of menopause.
- Reduces anxiety, backache, headach and insomnia.
- Avoid this posture if you have a neck injury
- Caution for late term pregnancy
- Knee injury
- For beginners, only lift the hips, lower back and some of your middle back so the pose lifts only half way. Lift the torso high enough so that your spine creates a straight line from the shoulders to the knees.
- For a deeper version, lift your heels as you press into the balls of the feet. Move the balls of your feet back under the knees and ground into the inside toe mounts to keep your knees and legs parallel.
- For a deeper chest opener, after the shoulders roll under the back, interlace your fingers and clasp hands. Stretch the arms long and press the entire arm and wrist into the mat. Avoid the arms and shoulders from pulling down from the ears. Keep a natural curve and space under your neck.
Setu Bandhasana (SET-too BAHN-dahs-anna)
setu = dam or bridge bandha = lock
- Lie supine on the floor.
- Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. Position your heels hip width apart directly under your knees. Press your palms down into the floor beside your hips. Position your chin lightly away from your sternum so the neck has natural curve and lift off the ground.
- As you exhale, contract your abdominal muscles and move your tailbone under toward the pubic bone. Feel how the pelvic tilt has flatten your lower back into ground and raised the low end of your hips off the ground.
- Maintain this pelvic tilt. Inhale and slowly lift the hips and lower back off the floor. Keep pressing into the inner edge of your feet to keep the knees and legs parallel. Continue to comfortably lift the middle and upper back until you lift the hips to the height of the knees.
- Maintain your pelvic tilt to prevent placing a forceful arch into the lower back. Prevent the bottom front ribs from flying upwards. Roll the shoulders under, rising onto the back of the shoulders.
- Press your shoulder blades firmly into the back as your arms root down. Ensure that your neck is not being forced into the ground. Avoid pulling your shoulders down from the ears as this forces and overstretches the neck. Maintain the natural curve and space under the neck. Gently move the pubis toward your navel
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute breathing slow and fully into the belly.
- To exit, exhale and move your shoulder out from underneath as you slowly lower your spine starting from the upper back down through to the hips. Once your hips are resting on the ground, hug your knees into your chest and rock side to side.