SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA
Strength and softness, rooting and lifting, exhilaration and relaxation; these are just a few of the opposing elements you may find in exploring bridge pose.
Bridge pose is an ideal posture to explore during the intense, yet peaceful, breaking open of new life happening all around us right now. This posture helps to “bridge” the mind and the body, joining energy with calm.
1 – Begin reclining on your mat with knees bent and the soles of the feet hip-distance apart on the floor, about 12 inches away from your pelvis
2 – Let the hands rest on the floor, palms up near the pelvis. Roll the shoulders back and let the shoulder blades broaden as they slide down the back, opening the chest
3 – Check that the feet are parallel and that all four corners of the feet are pressing into the mat. Turn the palms down and press gently into the mat
4 – Strengthen through the legs, hugging the muscles into the bone as you tuck your tailbone and begin to peel the pelvis away from the mat. Let the motion carry up through the spine, lifting one vertebra at a time away from the mat until you come to rest on your shoulders. If you like, you can clasp your hands below the pelvis, extending and pressing through the arms
5 – Point your tailbone toward the knees, which are directly over the heels but reaching forward, lengthening away from the pelvis. Try to keep the thighs and knees parallel, not bowing to the sides
6 – To avoid compressing the neck, lift the chin slightly and gently press the back of the head into the mat. Lift through the sternum
7 – Continue strengthening through the legs and arms as the shoulder blades broaden and the chest opens
8 – Breathe here for 3-7 breaths before lowering one vertebra at a time back to the mat
Notes: The buttocks should be firm, but not clenched in this pose. Instead, try to use the strength of your core and legs to keep lifting. Move slowly and with compassion as you roll in and out of bridge pose with the breath.