Setu means bridge. Bandha means locked. In this pose, the chest, legs and hips resemble a bridge. This pose is also sometimes called two-legged table or Dwi Pada Pitham.
Benefits of Bridge Pose
- Strengthens the gluteal, hamstring and lower back muscles.
- Opens the hips, solar plexus, and chest.
- Teaches us to distribute our weight evenly throughout our bodies.
- People using blood thinners should be cautious with inversions (as inversions may cause them to develop a headache).
- People with glaucoma and retinal detachments should avoid inversions.
- Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet flat on the earth. Your feet are 6 inches apart and your knees are also 6 inches apart. Your arms rest at your sides with your palms flat on the mat.
- Press your lower back into the mat. Lift one vertebra at a time starting with your tailbone. Engage your Bandhas as you continue lifting each vertebra up. Press evenly through the soles of your feet.
- Hug the thigh muscles around the femurs to support the knees.
- Lift your hips higher and feel more space between your hips and ribcage.
- Widen across your chest and breathe deeply.
- Roll onto the outside of one shoulder and then the other.
- Ensure that your weight is resting on the outside of your shoulders and arms instead of the back of your neck.
- Interlace your fingers.
- Reach your knuckles toward your heels and your arms into the earth.
- Notice that all your Bandhas are engaged.
- Feel space between your hips and your ribcage. Uddiyanabandha helps you to avoid overarching in your lower back.
- Jalandharabandha happens naturally since your chin is pressing towards your breastbone.
- Distribute the weight throughout your body so that there is a perfect balance between the weight on your feet and the weight on the outsides of your arms and shoulders. Place the least weight on the back of your head and no weight on your neck.
- Feel grounding earth energy coming up through your feet and legs into your torso.
- Ensure that your neck is soft and open.
- Breathe deeply and feel your heart beating in your chest.
- Release your hands and move your arms out to the sides.
- Exhale to roll one shoulder down and then the other.
- Breathe deeply to lower your torso to the mat one vertebra at a time.