Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

English Name(s)
Bridge Pose
Sanskrit
सेतु बन्ध सर्वाङ्गासन / Setu Bandha Sarvāṅgāsana
Pronunciation
SAY-too BAHN-duh shar-vahn-GAHS-uh-nuh
Meaning
Setu : “bridge,”
Bandha : “bind” or “lock,”
Sarva : “all”
Anga :  “limb”
āsana: “posture”

Introduction

The Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is one of the basic backbend poses which prepares the body to perform other advanced yoga poses or asanas. It is an intermediate-level pose, under the lying down the category of yoga asanas.

The Bridge Pose has a lot of scientific benefits compared to other yoga poses. It stretches your chest, neck, and spine areas. It also massages your internal organs. But to ensure that you gain maximum advantage from this pose, you must first understand how your body should be aligned right from your feet to your head.

Yoga is a great way to improve your health and happiness. A 12 Week study conducted in Hongkong found that participants had improved balance, flexibility, as well as stress levels after practicing Hatha Yoga, poses such as Bridge Pose, or similar sequences many times over 12 weeks.

Muscle Focus

Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose focuses on several muscles such as

  • Core (Abdominal Muscles)
  • Chest (Pectoralis)
  • Shoulders (Deltoids)
  • Back muscles (Latissimus Dorsi)
  • Buttocks (glutes)
  • Thighs (Hamstrings)

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • Good for people having sedentary lifestyles
  • Chest/Heart opening pose
  • Strengthens and tones spinal muscles.
  • Helps to prevent backache.

Benefits of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Bridge Pose

1. It Prepares Our Body for More Advanced Postures

The Bridge Pose is a basic backbend pose. It prepares your body to perform more advanced yoga poses like the Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow or Wheel Pose). In fact, it can be called an inverted version of Upward Bow or Wheel Pose because only the legs and pelvis rest on the ground while your head and arms are free in this pose.

2.  It Stretches Our Chest Muscles

While stretching your chest muscles, it also expands them. This cures any asthma conditions due to the regular practice of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Bridge Pose.

3. You Feel Less Stressed after Practicing this Pose

It also releases tension from around your neck area. As a result, you feel less stressed out after practicing this posture for quite some time.

4.  It Massages your Internal Organs

The Bridge Pose massages all your abdominal organs including the liver, pancreas, and spleen. This helps in improving your digestion as well.

5. Your Heart Rate Slows Down after Practicing this Pose

Practicing the Bridge Pose increases blood circulation through the arteries and provides rest to your heart muscles. This prevents cardiac arrest or blockage from occurring in the future. Additionally, it tones up your entire cardiovascular system.

6. You Burn Excess Fat Around your Chest and Belly Areas

While practicing this pose, you continuously use your abdominal muscles and suck in your belly. This burns any excess fat in both your chest and belly areas. Apart from that, it also improves our digestion system.

7.  It can Prevent Cardiac Arrest

Apart from the many benefits mentioned above, practicing Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Bridge Pose on a regular basis can also prevent Cardiac arrest. This is because it strengthens your heart muscles and keeps them healthy.

8. It can also Relieve Migraines, Headaches, Insomnia, and Exhaustion

This asana also provides relief from migraines, headaches, insomnia, and exhaustion. So overall, it can be said that the Bridge Pose is a very beneficial posture with many health advantages.

9. It can Prevent Varicose Veins from Occurring

Along with that, it easily cures leg fatigue and can prevent varicose veins from occurring.

10.  Develops Strong Shoulders and Cures Sagged Shoulders

This asana also helps to develop strong shoulders and cure sagged shoulders. It is beneficial for athletes because it strengthens the calves and thigh muscles. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is beneficial for athletes because it strengthens the calves and thigh muscles.

Contraindications

The Bridge Pose comes with many perks. However, one should still be aware of the contraindications. This pose places a lot of burden on your neck which is why it is not suitable for people who have a neck injury or are suffering from spondylitis.

After entering this posture, you should not adjust your neck as it can harm your spinal cord. If you want to fix your neck’s position, then release your pose and properly position your neck. Once you are comfortable, only then resume the asana.

People with an injured or sore back should refrain from practicing the Setu Bandha Sarvangasana. It is also not suitable for pregnant women because this pose places a lot of pressure on the lower abdomen and internal organs which can be harmful to the baby.

Variations

  • Setu Bandh Sarvangasana with Legs Extended
  • One-Legged Bridge Pose

Preparatory Pose

  • Chakrasana or Urdhwa Dhanurasana(Wheel Pose)
  • Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
  • Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose)

Beginner’s Tips

  • Make sure your thighs and torso are straight and parallel to the ground.
  • Breathe deeply and hold the pose for at least 30 seconds.
  • If you find it challenging to balance in this position, focus on keeping your core engaged.
  • Place your feet hip-width apart with your toes parallel to each other.
  • Then, press down firmly into all four corners of both feet as you lift your hips up towards the ceiling.
  • Activating your quadriceps will help straighten your knees and lengthen your spine.
  • Firmly press through your shoulders to lift your spine higher.

How to do Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Bridge Pose

Follow these steps:

  • In order to practice this pose correctly, you need to ensure that your body is aligned in the right way from your feet to your head.
  • Lie down on your back with both legs bent and feet flat on the ground.
  • Now slowly lift your hips and buttocks off the ground until your thighs and torso are in line with each other – forming a bridge shape.
  • Your arms should be by your sides, with palms flat on the ground.
  • Keep your feet parallel and hold this pose for 30 seconds to one minute.
  • Release and repeat up to five times.

Mental Benefits of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Bridge Pose

  • Calms the mind.
  • Provides comfort to the nervous system.
  • Alleviates symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety.
  • Releases all negative emotions from the body.
  • Stimulates different chakras: Muladhara or Root Chakra, Visuddha or Throat Chakra.

Bottom Line

If you want to stay healthy and fit, make sure you include this pose in your yoga routine. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is beneficial for athletes as well because it strengthens the calves and thigh muscles. Along with that, it easily cures leg fatigue and can prevent varicose veins from occurring. This asana also provides relief from migraines, headaches, insomnia, and exhaustion. So overall, it can be said that the Bridge Pose is a very beneficial posture.

1 sources
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4475706/
Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga. She is known around the world for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was also recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. Meera is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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