Setu Bandhasana: Bridge Pose

bridge daynaseraye

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.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • 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.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. 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.
  2. Place your arms by your sides, palms face down.
  3. On an exhale, press your feet firmly into the ground. Lift your tailbone off the ground, then lower back, then mid back.
  4. Press your knees forward, away from your hips.
  5. Lift your chest toward your chin, and your chin away from your chest.
  6. Keep your thighs parallel, gently hugging the inner knees toward each other.
  7. Hold for up to one minute. To release, gently lower your hips back down to the ground.

PREPARATORY POSES:

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

COUNTER POSES:

  • Happy baby pose | Ananda balasana
  • Reclined bound angle pose | Supta baddha konasana

SANSKRIT:

  • Setu = bridge
  • Bandha = lock
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Stretches your chest, spine, and hips.
  • Strengthens your back, glutes, and hamstrings.
  • Rejuvenates tired legs.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Calms your brain and soothes your central nervous system.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety.
  • Encourages transformation.
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Phalakasana: Plank Pose

highplank ashleighsergeant

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Phalakasana (fall-ack-AHS-anna), is an essential posture for a strong yoga practice. Holding plank pose will improve your endurance and muscle tone, help develop the strength needed for more complex poses, and generate heat and stimulating the navel chakra.

Philosophy + Origin

Hidden in the pose’s name is the Sanskrit word “phala,” which means to bear fruit or ripen. In yoga, the idea of tapas, often translated as “heat,” “passion,” or “discipline,” fuels the physical asana practice, encouraging students to seek out the challenge again and again in order to become stronger, to build an internal flame in the body that fuels every aspect of life. When you think of plank pose as an opportunity to “ripen” or “bear fruit,” you become aware of the transformative effect of this seemingly simple (although challenging) pose. Each time you enter the pose, use the breath to ripen the fruit of your labors. The ability to hold this pose with steadiness and grace is known to create major shifts in your practice and your life.

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