What we call “the yoga Bridge Pose” is also known as “Setu bandhasana”. This name translates into English as ‘formation of a bridge’ and derives from the three Sanskrit words: “setu”, meaning bridge, ‘bandha’ meaning lock and “asana” for posture. It is a pose both full-time yogi’s and beginners are likely to be familiar with, but we are not always aware of the great benefits!
1: Spine is fully stretched; creating space in between your vertebrae and stimulating the release of feel good hormones.
2: Calms nervous system, alleviating stress and tension.
3: Improves spinal mobility – excellent for back problems such as shoulder blade issues, weak back muscles, sciatica, and general stiffness and tension.
4: Strengthens your pelvic floor muscles.
5: Opens your hips and your heart centre.
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Achieving the Bridge Pose – Steps:
1. Lie on your back with your legs, knees and hips aligned, feet hip width apart and firmly on the ground.
2. Relax your buttocks.
3. Put weight on your shoulders and NOT on your neck.
4. Bring your feet closer towards the buttocks to stabilize your pelvis regions.
5. As you inhale, activate your core and pelvic floor muscles to slowly lift your hips of the ground.
6. As you exhale, slowly bring your hips down, massaging your back vertebrae by vertebrae.
Step bridge pose variations:
1. If you have temporary or persistent back problems, avoid lifting your hips too high, as this will overstretch your back. You can use props to help support you if needed. This basic version is commonly called the Pilates Bridge Pose.
2. If you have NO health concerns, then lift your pelvis and push your rib cage as far up as possible. Remaining stable and still within a level of comfort. This will result in a complete Yoga Bridge Pose.
This common pose is both simple, (with variations to make it more challenging) yet extremely effective in healing both physical ailments, (especially for the back) and emotional/mental stress.
Practice this pose regularly for a more flexible spine and optimally functioning nervous system. Whilst it is great for both men and women it is particularly useful in alleviating discomfort caused by menopausal symptoms and cramps related to the menstrual cycle. Use this stretch at night, just before you go bed to aid a restful sleep and prevent insomnia.