Setu Bandhasana: Bridge Pose

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.

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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Utkatasana: Chair Pose

Utkatasana: Chair Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

A challenging pose with hidden benefits, utkatasana (OOT-kah-TAHS-anna) works your body inside and out. Aside from strengthening your legs, this powerful pose also improves the health of your diaphragm and stimulates your heart. Practicing regularly will not only increase your physical endurance, it also encourages your chest and arms to open, creating more space in your body energetically.

Philosophy + Origin

While sitting in a chair is a common act for most of us today, chairs were once, and in some locations still are, considered a luxury. A throne in particular is a seat of power, one assumed by leaders around the world. The pose utkatasana, translated to mean powerful pose, invites individuals to sit on their throne, their seat of power. Embracing the challenge of the pose, and recognizing the strength that is generated when assumed thoughtfully and in proper alignment (physically and spiritually), you can begin to refine all aspects of your life, allowing yourself to step into roles of leadership and responsibility with clarity and confidence.

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