Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Bridge Pose is an excellent beginning backbend which is a versatile pose to help learn proper alignment and strengthening for back bending practices as well as Salamba Sarvangasana or Shoulderstand. Natasha Rizopolous of Yoga Journal gives a great overview of the pose in her Basics Column. Energetically, Bridge Pose is an excellent grounding pose for accessing the Root Chakra, stimulating the Thyroid and Throat Chakra and Opening the chest and the Heart Chakra. Learn more about the chakras and associated poses here.
Lately, I have readdressed a sacro-iliac injury with the help of Gary Kraftsow’s Viniyoga Therapy for Lower Back, Sacrum and Hips. One of the key practices in the sequence for Lower Back pain is called Dwi Pada Pitham which is a variation of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, which is practiced by keeping the arms palms down at the sides and inhaling to lift the pelvis off of the ground into Bridge Pose and exhaling to lower each vertebrae back down onto the mat. After practicing this several times, on the inhale, lift the hips and pelvis off of the ground and at the same time raise the arms overhead and again exhale and lower the arms and hips synchronistically back down to the floor. The Viniyoga tradition of yoga incorporates the use of the breath with each inhale and exhale specifically synchronized with each movement of the body. This practice has helped to stabilize the pelvis and eliminate the chronic lower back pain in the sacro-iliac. In fact, in a workshop with Gary last spring I experienced Zero pain in my lower back for the first time since receiving the injury over 10 years ago.
iHanuman Yoga Teacher, Lillah Schwartz, of Lighten Up Yoga in North Carolina has created a series of videos to improve posture. The third in this series is a version of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, or Chatush Padasana, Four – Footed Pose, as it is called in the Iyengar Tradition. You can watch this video here:
And Boulder Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Richard Freeman Teaches Teachers how to assist students in Bridge Pose during his Teacher Intensive in November 2009
Additionally, take a look at a few of our favorite Bridge poses from across the web and to learn more about the photographers, please click on the photographs and tell them that you like their photo. Like us, we are sure they would love to hear from you.