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.
Agnistambhasana: Firelog Pose
Agnistambhasana (AG-nee-stahm-BAHS-ah-nah) is sometimes referred to as double pigeon pose because the legs take a similar shape as they do in pigeon pose. Firelog pose creates a deep stretch in the outer hips and space in the low back.
Philosophy + Origin
Fire (agni) is a transformative element. Agnistambhasana can be very uncomfortable as many people carry deep tension in their hips. See if you can feel the fire building in your hips and with your breath as you hold this pose.
- Sit on a folded blanket or block to create more space for your hips.
- Place your top leg in front of your bottom leg (rather than on top of it) to ease pressure on the knees.
- Use a block under your top ankle to release pressure on your bottom leg.
- Use a block under your top knee to help the hip relax and to relieve discomfort in the knee.