Bridge (Setu Bandha)
By Kimberlee Jensen Stedl
This is a must-do pose for anyone who needs strong leg muscles, such as climbers, bicyclists, dancers, scuba divers, you name it. It strengthens all the muscles of the legs, the back and the abdominal muscles.
- Strengthens the quadriceps
- Stretches pectoral muscles of the chest and anterior deltoid muscles of the shoulder
- Strengthens the adductors muscles of the inner thighs
- Has a calming effect on the mind
Getting into the pose
- Enter from lying on your back
- Place your palms firmly on the floor alongside your hips
- Bend your knees and bring your feet flat on the floor, keeping the feet hip-width apart. Draw your feet back as close to your hips as you can get them, maybe even touching your heels with your hands
- Suck your belly down towards the floor, creating a gentle pelvic tilt
- Pushing strongly into the feet, peel your hips off the floor, then lift your back, coming all the way onto your shoulders
The eyes stay focused on the sky and the chin stays slightly away from the chest to keep the neck long. The knees should stay pointing towards the second toe, but often they will splay open in this pose. If your knees open up, squeeze the inner thighs to draw them back inline.
There are several hand positions you can use in Bridge. You can keep the palms flat on the floor. You can bring your hands onto your hips to help support them in this pose. Or, you can roll to the outside of each arm one at a time, then clasp your fingers on the floor underneath the body. Also, you can take a block between your thighs and squeeze it to you engage the adductor muscles of the inner thighs; this helps with proper knee alignment.
Happy posing, Namaste