Setu bandhasana (SET-too bahn-DAH-sa-na) provides a great stretch for the chest, neck, and spine. As helpful for improving digestion as it is for reducing insomnia, the long list of benefits that comes with bridge pose makes a convincing argument for practicing it regularly.
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.
- Stimulates lungs and thyroid glands.
- Rejuvenates tired legs.
- Calms your brain and soothes your central nervous system.
- Reduces stress and anxiety.
- Encourages transformation.
“Om Namah Shivaya”
A powerful mantra, “Om Namah Shivaya” encourages transformation by calling on Shiva to help us slay our demons, burning away illusions and obstacles that get in our way.
A prominent symbol of transformation, you can practice lotus mudra by bringing your hands together at your heart center and then opening your palms while keeping the thumbs and pinky fingers connected.