May 2019 – SETUBANDHASANA – The Bridge Yoga Pose

The bridge posture allows for the spine to lift upwards and downwards, commencing at the base of the spine. When you become familiar with this asana, bring your awareness to your spine, in particular to each individual vertebra during the movements. This allows the energy to flow freely up and down the whole of your spine.

Exercise one.

  1. Lie on the floor. Bend your knees so that the soles of your feet are flat on the floor and as close to your bottom as possible. Check that your feet and knees are facing forwards, and are parallel, at hip width apart. Check that your arms are close to your body with palms facing downwards. Tuck your chin in to lengthen your neck and relax your shoulders onto the floor.
  2. Bringing your awareness to your hands and feet, allow them to take the weight of your body and as you breath in, raise the sacrum off the floor about six inches. On your out-breath, lower your sacrum, one vertebrae at a time to the floor with your coccyx being the last bone to reach the mat.
  3. Repeat the above process, but raising your sacrum a little more, tensing your buttocks and engaging your core stability muscles. Hold for a moment and on release, slowly lower your spine one vertebrae at a time with your coccyx finally reaching the mat.
  4. Finally, repeat one more time, raising as high as you feel comfortable. Pause, and on your out-breath, press your sacrum firmly onto the mat. This will tilt the pelvis forwards and it also helps to release any tension which may be around the lower back.

Exercise two.

Following the above procedures, but on your in-breath, as you raise your sacrum, also slowly raise your arms above and behind your head. Place your fingers as close to the floor as you can. Ensure that your chin is tucked in and your chest is open. When you are ready to release, on your out-breath, slowly lower your arms and sacrum at the same time. Try to synchronise the movement. Your hands and coccyx should land on the mat at the same time. Repeat another two or three times.

Exercise three.

  1. Following the instructions from above with your arms behind your head.
  2. Remain in the bridge pose, and clasp your hands together.
  3. On your in-breath, slowly raise your hands until they are about eight inches above your heart centre. Breath out.
  4. Now create three small circles in one direction, directly above your heart and three in the opposite direction.
  5. Breath in, and on your out-breath, slowly lower your clasped hands back behind your head and release them.
  6. When you feel ready to come out of the posture, on your out-breath, slowly lower your hands and sacrum as before towards the mat.

Yoga bridge 1

Yoga bridge 2

Summary of The Bridge Yoga pose

Alignment points Contra-indications Safety Instructions Benefits
  • Feet,heels knees hip width apart,parallel to each other
  • Shoulders square,flat on the floor
  • Chin tucked in
  • Spine aligned
  • Chin tucked in
  • Arms forwards and parallel
Take extra care if you have neck injuries or problems. Also be gentle if you have rheumatoid arthritis, whiplash or acute cervical disc problems
  • Do in stages and go to your own comfort level
  • Do not overstretch
  • Place a cushion under your neck for comfort and support
  • Increases flexibility to the back and neck
  • Opens up the chest
  • Activates the thyroid
  • Strengthens the gluteus maximus muscles
  • Improves digestion
  • Help to alleviate menstrual problems
  • Brings about a calmness and sense of happiness