Setu Bandha Asana Benefits and Steps To Do The Bridge Pose

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One of the main by-products of living a sedentary life is a rigid and aching lower back. In addition to the same, more often than not, we tend to lose our ability to express and feel compassion to an extent, given the relatively materialistic world that we live in. If you are someone who relates to this, you might be looking at the article that could perhaps change your life, for it talks about a Yoga position which will help you combat the above issues and so many more. This pose is known as the Setu Bandha Asana, or the Bridge pose.

Let's embark on a journey into the depths of this elegant posture, exploring the benefits of Setu Bandha Asana, unraveling a step-by-step guide on how to perform the Bridge Pose, delving into the anatomy of Setu Bandha Asana, addressing important considerations regarding when not to perform the Bridge Pose, and finally, addressing common questions and doubts about Setu Bandha Asana that may arise along the yogic journey.

What is Setu Bandha Asana a.k.a Bridge Pose

Setu Bandha Asana also known as Bridge Pose is a backbend pose which is a part of Hatha Yoga’s roster of positions. The name itself comes from Sanskrit and it loosely translates to “Bridge Bend Pose”, hence it is more popularly known as the Bridge Pose in the West. It is also believed that the pose has ties to the legend of Ramayana, and more specifically, the part of the legend which sees the army of lord Rama build a bridge that would take them from the South East coast of Tamil Nadu, India to Lanka (Present day Sri Lanka). However, the early descriptions of the position were only found in the 19th century in a book known as Sritattvanidhi, but in the book, the position went by the name of Kamapithasana.

In terms of complexity, the Bridge pose is a daily simple one to get it right, however, it puts a fair amount of pressure on the back, shoulders, knees and neck, hence it is recommended that the position should be followed by warm up poses such as the Downward Facing Dog and the Child Pose since they will prepare the relevant muscle groups for Setu Bandha Asana. We will learn more about this position as we move along this article.

What Are The Benefits Of Setu Bandha Asana a.k.a Bridge Pose

Some of the benefits of Setu Bandha Asana also known as Bridge Pose are as follows:

Setu Bandha Asana Helps Manage Asthma and Sinusitis: Yes, that’s right! If you are someone who is constantly suffering from inflamed sinuses and passageways for air in the chest, you should consider doing this position. Setu Bandha Asana essentially broadens the chest and its passageways as well as increases the blood circulation as it forces the blood towards the head. However, more research needs to be conducted in this area, therefore you should not solely rely on yoga positions for your health predicaments.

Setu Bandha Asana Strengthens Lower Back: Since this is essentially a backbend pose, Sethu Bandha Sarvangasana primarily focuses on your back muscles, with lower back muscles being the priority. As this position causes a stretch in your body, the position alleviates the lower back of all the rigidity acquired because of living a sedentary life. Simultaneously, the stretch in question causes microtears in the lower back muscles, which help them grow stronger in the long run if the position is practised diligently.

Setu Bandha Asana Helps With Digestive Issues: When you are stretching your back while doing this pose, you also end up massaging the organs in your abdominal area such as the stomach and colon. If the position is practised regularly, this constant massaging could potentially make the digestion process easier for the practitioner.

Setu Bandha Asana Makes Your Mind Stronger: This position allows for the blood flow towards the direction of the practitioner’s mind, which can help him/her fight mild degrees of mental ailments. However, if you are dealing with serious psychological ailments, you should definitely talk to a mental health professional as well.

Setu Bandha Asana Activates Your Chakras: In the context of Yoga and wellness, Chakras are referred to as several supposed energy vortexes in the human body through which life force passes. In totality, there are 7 known Chakras in the human body. This pose particularly puts the Vishuddha and Anahata Chakras to work, which can be found in the throat and the heart respectively. It is believed that activating the heart Chakra can help the practitioner feel more compassion and warmth while an activated throat chakra helps the student express more.

How To Do Setu Bandha Asana a.k.a Bridge Pose

If you do a step-by-step breakdown of the technique which needs to be followed to do the Setu Bandha Asana also known as Bridge Pose, you will realize that it is very simple to execute. You will find the same below:

  • Setu Bandha Asana Step 1: Lie down on your mat with your knees bent towards you with your arms by your sides and palms touching the ground.
  •  Setu Bandha Asana Step 2: Make sure that the distance between your knees matches the width of your hips and the distance between them and your pelvis should be anywhere between 10-12 inches. Additionally, ensure that your knees and ankles are in a straight line.
  •  Setu Bandha Asana Step 3: Breathe in while gently lifting your back. Start with your lower back, then your middle back and then finally, your upper back. Make sure that by the end of this step, you are only supported by your shoulders, neck and feet.
  • Setu Bandha Asana Step 4: Pull your upper body up with your shoulders, but only until your chin touches your chest.
  • Setu Bandha Asana Step 5: Tighten your abdominal and gluteal muscles.
  • Setu Bandha Asana Step 6: Breathe normally while holding the position for anywhere between 30-60 seconds.
  • Setu Bandha Asana Step 7: Come back to the position described in Step 1 by breathing out first and then lowering your back, starting with your upper back, followed by your middle back and then finally your lower back.

When To Practise Setu Bandha Asana a.k.a Bridge Pose

You can perform the Setu Bandha Asana in the morning as well as evening. However, you should consider doing this position at the very end of your Yoga session, for by that time, your muscles will be ready for the same.

Setu Bandha Asana Contraindications

There are certain circumstances under which you should either completely avoid doing the Setu Bandha Asana or perform it under the supervision of an expert. They are as follows:

  • If you have injured your neck, shoulder, back or knee or have got a surgery done on any of those parts very recently, strictly avoid this pose. But, if a significant amount of time has passed since you had sustained the injuries or had the operation, you can perhaps practise this pose but only under the guidance of a professional.
  • If you are in an advanced stage of your pregnancy, definitely stay clear of this pose. However, if you have very recently given birth, you can do this position but only with the permission of your doctor and your yoga instructor and under the supervision of the latter.
  • Avoid this position at all costs if you tend to get light headed from time to time.
  • If you have an extremely weak back, avoid this position. But, if you think that your back can take it, maybe you should prepare the same with a few warm up poses such as the Balasana, Tadasana and Ardha Mukha Svanasana.

Anatomy of Setu Bandha Asana a.k.a Bridge Pose