Pose of the Week: Setu Badhasana (Bridge Pose)

Setu Badhasana (pronounced set-too bah-dahs-anna), also known commonly as Bridge Pose, has many benefits.  This pose strengthens the muscles of the shoulders, back, buttocks, thighs and legs.  Bridge Pose tones the thighs, legs, internal organs and abdominal viscera (the internal organs enclosed within the abdominal cavity).  Setu Badhasana stretches your abdominal muscles and expands the chest, strengthens lungs and facilitates deeper breathing.  This pose helps regulate functioning of the thyroid gland and stimulates the adrenal glands.  Bridge Pose helps one contract the lower back, which in turn squeezes toxins from the kidneys and irrigates them with a fresh blood supply.  Last, but not least, this pose aligns and brings elasticity to the spinal column.

While Bridge Pose has many benefits, it should be avoided if one has recent or chronic shoulder or back injury or inflammation.

How to perform Bridge Pose:

  1.  Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend your arms along the floor, palms flat.
  2.  Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor. Exhale as you lift your hips toward the ceiling.
  3.  Draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone, holding your buttocks off the floor. Keep your glutes and buttocks relaxed.
  4.  Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body. Option: Clasp your hands and extend your arms along the floor beneath your pelvis. Straighten your arms as much as possible, pressing your forearms into the mat, reaching your knuckles toward your heels.
  5.  Keep your thighs and feet parallel, keep your knees separated. Press your weight evenly across all four corners of both feet. Lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your knees.
  6.  Hold for up to one minute.
  7.  To release from the pose, unclasp your hands and place them palms-down alongside your body. Exhale as you slowly roll your spine along the floor, vertebra by vertebra. Allow your knees to drop together.

Note:  Bridge Pose can be done with a block placed between your knees or thighs.  A strap may also be used above the elbows to draw the scapula under your back and together.

For a complete listing of all the classes at Wilmington Yoga Center, please visit us at http://www.wilmingtonyogacenter.com/classes/yoga-class-schedule/.