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.
Hanumanasana: Front Splits Pose
Hanumanasana (hah-new-mahn-AHS-ah-nah) honors the great leap made by Hanuman, the famous monkey god from the Ramayana, across the ocean from India to the mountains of Sri Lanka. Front splits pose demands flexibility, strength, and stability.
Philosophy + Origin
More than just an incredible leap, Hanuman is remembered, celebrated, and worshiped because of his great devotion and courage. To be devoted, one must be bold enough to stand firmly in their beliefs, selflessly serving others and putting others’ needs above their own.
Because of its physical demands, it’s easy to get caught up in “achieving” the outward appearance of the posture. As such, it’s important to keep your ego in check as you dedicate yourself to the posture. Above all, invite kindness and selflessness to flow freely from the posture. As you practice, ask yourself how you can embody Hanuman’s devotion both in your physical yoga practice and your everyday life.