As you perform Bridge Pose, you will become more alert in both body and mind. This rejuvenating backbend will open your chest up and keep your spine flexible. While beginners can practice it safely, skilled practitioners can still experience its many benefits. Setu Bandhasana will also help to prepare you for more intense backbends.
This posture is relatively simple and quite exhilarating. If you find it difficult to hold the lift in your pelvis, slide a block or bolster beneath your sacrum and rest the pelvis on it for support. In contrast, if you are looking to deepen the stretch, lift your heels off the floor once in Bridge Pose and push your tailbone up towards the pubis. Once the tailbone is lifted, stretch the heels back to the floor.
Getting Into Bridge Pose:
Lie flat on your back with arms at your sides, palms down. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Keep your feet hip width apart, parallel to each other, and as close to the buttocks as possible. Simultaneously, press your upper arms and feet into the floor and begin lifting your hips towards the ceiling. Try to distribute your weight equally on the inside and outside of your feet.
Now, move your breastbone towards your chin, keeping your chin lifted only slightly as not to flatten the back of the neck. Firm your tailbone in towards the pubis and move your pubis slightly towards the belly. In order to keep the lower back extended, keep the knees over the ankles, perpendicular to the floor. Your buttocks should be firm, but not clasped.
Lift your hips as high as you are able without breaking position. If you are having trouble holding posture, you can clasp your hands behind your back and firm you arms into the floor, shoulder blades shifted down along the spine. Hold this pose for 5 to 15 breaths.
To come out of Bridge Pose, release on an exhalation, rolling your spine slowly down onto the floor.
Benefits of Bridge Pose:
- Stretches the chest, neck, spine, and hips
- Strengthens the back, buttocks, and hamstrings
- Improves circulation of blood
- Helps alleviate stress and mild depression
- Calms the brain and central nervous system
- Stimulates the lungs, thyroid glands, and abdominal organs
- Improves digestion
- Helps relieve symptoms of menopause
- Reduces backache and headache
- Reduces fatigue, anxiety, and insomnia
- Rejuvenates tired legs
- Relieves symptoms of asthma and high blood pressure
- Therapeutic for hypertension, osteoporosis, and sinusitis