Setu Bandhasana: Bridge Pose
Setu bandhasana (SET-too bahn-DAH-sa-na) provides a great stretch for the chest, hip flexors, and spine. Practice this pose to strengthen your legs and glutes or as a gentle inversion to calm your mind.
Philosophy + Origin
Like some other yoga poses, the name for bridge pose comes from its physical shape. The bridge pose is also a reminder of the opportunity to cross over from one place to another. The bridge is a connection between two different places, which can be physical, spiritual, or psychological. By forming a bridge with your body, you create a structure that invites transformation, one that can get you from where you are to where you want to be.
- For an additional shoulder stretch, interlace your fingers underneath your hips.
- Place a bolster or block under your pelvis for a more restorative version.
- Fold a blanket and place it under your shoulders for extra cushion.
- Begin lying on your back with knees bent, soles of your feet on the ground and knees to the ceiling. Place your feet parallel to each other with heels right under your knees.
- Place your arms by your sides, palms face down.
- On an exhale, press your feet firmly into the ground. Lift your tailbone off the ground, then lower back, then mid back.
- Press your knees forward, away from your hips.
- Lift your chest toward your chin, and your chin away from your chest.
- Keep your thighs parallel, gently hugging the inner knees toward each other.
- Hold for up to one minute. To release, gently lower your hips back down to the ground.
- Setu = bridge
- Bandha = lock
- Asana = pose
- Stretches your chest, spine, and hips.
- Strengthens your back, glutes, and hamstrings.
- Rejuvenates tired legs.
- Calms your brain and soothes your central nervous system.
- Reduces stress and anxiety.
- Encourages transformation.
Prasarita Padottanasana: Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose
Prasarita padottanasana (pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-tahn-AHS-an-uh) is a big stretch for the hamstrings and inner leg line. With many variations available, this pose is accessible for most practitioners. This is also a great pose in lieu of headstand.
Philosophy + Origin
Prasarita padottanasana has found its way into almost every style of yoga. B.K.S. Iyengar taught several variations of this posture, labeling them as A, B, C, and D. The most commonly practiced variation is prasarita padottanasana A. Prasarita padottanasana B is when the hands are on the hips and the head is lifted off the ground, not resting on the mat. Prasarita padottanasana C is the variation where the hands are interlaced and stretched behind the back and over the head as you fold. In the final variation taught by Iyengar, prasarita padottanasana D asks the student to grasp the big toe on each foot.