Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
With the back on the floor, the back of the head, neck and shoulders remain on the floor. The pelvis is lifted and supported on a block. The Legs are extended.
1. Lie on the floor, knees bent, toes pointing towards the wall.
2. Keep the head, neck and shoulders on the floor, press the feet on the floor and raise the hips/buttocks off the floor.
3. Place a block vertically under the sacrum towards the tailbone.
4. Straighten the legs, one at a time, the center of the back of the heels on the floor.
5. Externally rotate the arms and open the chest.
6. Extend the arms along the floor towards the feet.
7. To come out, bend the knees, lift the hips, remove the block, lower the buttocks to the floor, roll over and sit up.
Setu Bhanda Sarvangasana is a restorative back bending pose. This pose strengthens the spinal muscles and tones the nervous system.
Variation for Neck and Shoulders from Senior Iyengar Teacher, Lois Steinberg, PhD.
Restorative Versions on Bolsters
1. Place 2 bolsters crossed in a T with the bottom one horizontal and the top one is vertical.
2. Sit on one end of the vertical bolster and lie back, so that the back of the head and shoulders rest on the floor.
3. Stretch the arms to the sides. Stretch the legs straight. Open the chest. Add support under the shoulders, neck and head and if the back is irritated, place the feet on a block or bolster.
4. Hold the bolsters, bend the knees and slide down towards the head.
Technique A - Method 1 - Feet on a Stool or Wall
1. Lie on the floor with knees flexed and feet touching the wall or a stool or a block. The head is 4 - 4.5 feet away from the wall or the support.
2. Place the feet at a height of about 1.5 - 2 feet on the wall or the stool.
3. Place the feet into the wall or stool to raise the pelvis, back and shoulderblades off the floor. Support the back with the hands.
4. The back of the head, shoulders and upper arms remain on the floor.
5. Straighten the legs and create an arch with the body.
6. Bend the knees, release the arms from the back and slowly lower the torso to the floor.
Technique A - Method 2 - Hands on the Back. Feet on the wall.
1. Lie on the back about 4 - 4.5 feet away from a wall. Bend the knees and place the feet near the buttocks. Exhale and raise the hips and back and support the back with the palms and lift the chest.
2. Straighten the legs one at a time and place the feet on the wall. Straighten the knees.
Technique B - On a bench
1. Lie on a bench 10 inches high. Knees are bent.
2. Exhale and slide in the direction of the head until the head reaches the ground. Slide further until the shoulders touch the floor. The body from the buttocks to the legs remains on the bench.
Those who are overweight or who suffer from headaches or intestinal disorders should first master these easier techniques.
Technique C - Advanced -From Sarvangasana
Stretch the spine towards the neck, keep the heels firmly on the ground.