Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana): A Guide & Benefits

setu bandha sarvangasan yoga
yoga-block for setu bandha sarvangasana pose

Table of Contents 

  • What is Setu Bandha sarvangasana(Bridge Pose)?  
  • Benefits of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
  • Use of Yoga Accessories in Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
  • Instructions to perform Setu Bandha Sarvangasana 
  • Different Yoga Variations of the Bridge Pose 
  • Summary
     

What is Setu Bandha Sarvangasana(Setu Bandasana)

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is commonly known as Bridge Pose or Supported Bridge Pose, also called Setu Bhandasana. Let us decode the Sanskrit name to understand the true meaning. 

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana means making a bridge by locking all the limbs. 

As the name suggests it is an asana that is performed by creating a bridge shape with your body using all your limbs. It is similar to the original Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana) but with a slight variation as it needs additional support.  
 
As you can see in the image, this asana is perfectly done with a yoga block which is considered to be one of the best yoga accessories for this pose. The yoga wheel can also give you the perfect support to bend your body and perform the asana in the right way. Yoga accessories are always helpful to achieve perfect yoga positions and when it comes to bending postures yoga wheel is one of the most used yoga accessories. 
 

Benefits of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana(Bridge Pose)

The renowned fact is that yoga itself is a very good and healthy practice. All yoga poses have certain unique effects and advantages. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is no exception. It has numerous benefits. It helps to rejuvenate the body. It is known to have calming and therapeutic effects on the performer. This Bridge pose plays a major role in women’s health at all stages of their life like during menstruation, pregnancy, and all stages of menopause.  

Let’s look at some of the key benefits that Setu Bandha Sarvangasana offers. 

  • Enhanced Stretching of the legs and hips 
  • Strengthening of the back muscles 
  • Reduction in back pain 
  • Improved flexibility of the spine 
  • Increased respiratory expansion 

Enhanced Stretching of the legs and hips: 

This yoga pose involves making a bridge. To perform that you will have to lift your hips off the ground and leave your feet on the floor. This helps to stretch the chest, hips, and legs. Additionally, it relieves the tension and stiffness in these regions. This asana is very useful for someone who sits for a very long period to deal with the consequences.  

Strengthening of the back muscles: 

The first step in this pose is to lift the hips. To do this, it is very important to have the support of the lower back and spine. This act strengthens the muscles in this region. When you stretch the back muscles, it improves the posture and helps to maintain stability in that area. 

Reduction in back pain: 

Since this pose involves stretching the back muscles and spine, it relieves pain in this area, thus reducing any discomfort that you may have. Additionally, stretching the chest and shoulder region helps reduce strain on the upper back. 

Improved flexibility of the spine: 

Making a backbend flexes and extends the spine, helps to improve spine flexibility in the long run. This aids in performing various other poses, thereby reducing stiffness and discomfort. 

Increased respiratory expansion: 

Stretching the chest helps to expand the lungs during inhalation, which improves breathing and increases the intake of oxygen, thereby helping to relax and relieve stress.  
 

Tips for Practicing Supported Bridge Pose/ Setu Bandha Sarvangasana 

It is now clear that Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is performed by making a bridge. This helps to stretch to different parts of the body, mainly the hips, back, and legs. The Iyengar yoga props can be used to enhance the benefits of this Bridge pose. Below are a few tips to practice supported bridge pose. 

Stretch out: 

Before performing any yoga pose/physical exercise, it is important to warm up. Stretching the muscles gently is sufficient. You can do a sun salutation or cat pose for this purpose. 

Yoga Accessories/Props: 

There are Iyengar yoga props that can be used to support the spine and hip when you perform this yoga pose. Gather them according to your needs and specifics.  

Assemble: 

The yoga props can be assembled to help perform the yoga poses better. You can either use all the yoga props together or use them separately, depending on your needs and flexibility. 

Position: 

Once you have everything in place, make sure the body positioning is correct. It is not enough just to have the yoga props; you need to ensure they are in the right spot for maximum benefit. After all, you don’t want your efforts to be in vain just because you placed them in the wrong place.  

Use of Yoga Accessories in Setu Bandha Sarvangasana 

  • Yoga Mat: Lying comfortably on the ground is important. The yoga mat acts as a cushion for the body. It prevents you from slipping, providing grip and comfort. 
     
  • Yoga Blankets: The yoga blankets can be folded and used to support the shoulders. If you are not very flexible, before you lift your body into the bridge pose, place the folded Iyengar yoga blankets under your shoulders in the back. This provides the rise needed for the pose. 
     
  • Yoga Pillows: Yoga Pillows can be used to provide proper alignment for your neck and act as additional support to avoid any strain that may result from performing the yoga pose. Alternatively, you can use folded yoga blankets instead of Iyengar yoga pillows. 
     
  • Yoga Blocks: They can be used for multiple purposes. They can be used to support the sacrum and gently extend the spine. Alternatively, they can be used between the legs if you tend to splay them out, or under the hands so that you can press your arms to the yoga block and easily lift your body to the bridge pose.  
  • Yoga Bolster: Yoga Bolsters can be used to support your back. Place the Iyengar Yoga bolster under your sacrum to provide support to the spine. This can help you achieve a restorative position and can be very helpful if you are not very flexible. 
     
  • Yoga Strap, Scarf, or Belt: These can be used to align your arms and shoulders. They prevent your arms from splaying out by wrapping them around the upper arms. On the other hand, you can use them with your thighs to make sure they remain in place. 

Note: If you do not have all the Iyengar Yoga props, it is okay to continue with the ones you have on hand. 

Instructions to Perform Setu Bandha Sarvangasana(Bridge Pose

  • First, begin by lying in a proper position. If you have a yoga mat, it can be used to lie down. 
  • Keep your feet hip-width apart; bend your knees and bring your feet close to your hips. 
  • Ensure that your fingertips touch the heels and that the soles are parallel to the knees.  
  • Have the Iyengar yoga props nearby and use them as mentioned above. 
  • Adjust the yoga props based on your flexibility and comfort. 
  • With the help of a Yoga block/bolster, check to see if your spine is in line with your shoulders. 
  • Make sure your hips are parallel to the floor and press your arms & shoulders to stretch your chest open. 
  • Slowly close your eyes and take deep breaths. As you inhale and exhale, try to relax your body and observe your ribcage expanding. 
  • You can stay in the yoga pose for 5 minutes or longer if you are comfortable. You can feel the tension leaving your spine and the rest of your body. 
  • To come out of the pose, lift your hips up remove the Iyengar yoga block/bolster that was placed, and slowly bring your spine down. 
  • If you feel any residual tension left, you can do some gentle twists to relieve it. 

Different Setu Bandha Sarvangasana(Bridge Pose) Yoga Variations  

The Setu Bandha Sarvangasana can be performed in different variations with the yoga props. A few of the variations are explained below. 

Bridge Pose with a Yoga Block: 

In this bridge pose, the yoga block is placed under the sacrum. As we discussed above, this Iyengar yoga block acts as a support to your hips thereby stretching your back, chest, and shoulders. Additionally, you can add another yoga block to increase the height 

Bridge Pose with a Setu Bandh Yoga Bench: 

The bridge pose with a setu bandh yoga bench, the bench is used in place of the yoga block. However, the setu bandh yoga bench provides a better hip lift and support than the yoga block. This yoga bench is specifically designed to perform bridge poses. The setu bandh yoga bench is in the shape of a curve, and it resembles the shape of the body when in the pose. 

Supported Bridge Pose with a rectangular Yoga Bolster: 

This supported bridge pose variation is the same as the first one, however, a yoga bolster is placed instead of a yoga block. This assists the hip to lift in a comfortable and gentle manner. As a result, you will be able to attain a restorative Iyengar yoga pose and increase the flexibility in the hip and spine region. 

Bridge Pose with a Yoga Strap: 

In this Setu Bhandasana variation, a yoga strap is used in the hip area to provide lift and balance during the yoga pose. This aids you to focus on extending the spine by opening the chest and shoulders while the Yoga strap secures the hip region. 

Summary

Setu bandha Sarvangasana is one of the most beneficial Yoga Poses. Regular practice of this asana helps you to get rid of several health problems and gives you a vigorous and healthy body. It has benefits right from the head to toe. Hence, it is referred to as an entire-body formation asana.

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