My pose of the week; Bridge pose – Setu Bandhasana. Balancing the heat of summer by cooling the lungs, calms the brain and builds a bridge to free up space in the body. So simple and yet It is often practiced with pelvic misalignment.
I teach bridge pose more than I ever used to and I prefer not to call it a back bend because it has a lot of therapeutic qualities. For this reason it should not be overlooked by advanced yogis especially if you love backbends! Bridge pose is a great way to open the hip flexors and psoas, which is essential for keeping the back healthy and strong.
Here I’ve placed a folded blanket under my shoulder blades to open my chest cavity and to lift lungs and heart which improves breathing capacity. I’ve also placed a block beneath my sacrum to keep my pelvis in a balanced tilt and to prevent prolapse of the abdominal organs (the block can be on a lower level if more comfortable), it’s important to try and keep the belly soft. I also have a block placed between my thighs to stabilise the pose from the inside out and to prevent hardening the glutes or rectus abdominis muscles.
As you take the time to explore the different actions in this pose with the support of blocks, the bandhas will engage naturally, without requiring will or effort.
Bridge pose lengthens the front body as well as the back body, creating space between your vertebrae and relieving pressure on the disks. It is therefore an excellent antidote to common everyday activities. It’s also helpful for training the shoulder’s rotator cuff muscles. The head is essentially in a forward bend, with the occipital area at the base of the skull (where the parasympathetic nerves, including the vagus nerve, are concentrated) pressed into the floor. If practicing without blocks, it’s important to resist the urge to thrust the hips up, this will compress the lumbar. Distribute extension evenly, from the tailbone to the neck. .
As you hold the pose steady, you will enjoy a great pranic flow the whole length of the spine. Be observant, breathe freely and you may receive valuable insights on pelvis positioning that will help progress many other advanced postures. 😊