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Bridge pose is an inverted back-bending posture, that mainly stretches the spine, chest, and neck. It is commonly used in Vinyasa sequences.
This asana prepares the body for more intense back-bending yoga asanas. Along with providing flexibility and strength to the body, this asana improves the body posture and relaxes the body muscles. It helps to boost the energy of the body.
Like various other yoga asanas, the reason behind the naming of Bridge Pose is the body posture. In Bridge Pose, the body resembles a bridge, that’s why we call it Bridges pose.
How to Perform Bridge Pose
Practicing Bridge Pose is easy enough. You can perform it easily by following the steps below.
Preparing the Asana
- Firstly, lay on the floor on your back. Your back should be flat on the floor.
- Now, bend the knees and bring your feet towards your hips as close as possible.
Note- Feet should be hip-width apart, knees pointing upwards.
- Place your arms beside the body.
Note- You can also grab the ankles with your hands for support.
Getting Into the Pose
- With an inhalation, press your feet firmly on the floor and firstly, lift your pelvis off the floor, then lower back and then middle back. Take the support of your arms to lift the back.
Note- Feet should be flat on the floor and distribute weight evenly throughout the whole feet. You might get a deep temptation to lift the heels but keep them flat on the floor.
- Balance your body weight on the shoulder and feet and raise your back and hips as much as possible.
- When the body is raised enough, tuck your chin to the collarbone gently (don’t move it forcefully), towards the chest. Then exhale completely.
Here, you will feel stretch on your back, thighs, neck, and chest. Your shins will be perpendicular to the floor and your thighs will be parallel to the floor.
- Now, in the same position, take slow and gentle breaths. Make sure your hips, back, and chest are lifted.
Hold this position for 30-60 seconds and bring your awareness to the flow of prana.
Releasing the Pose
- When you are done, take a long deep breath. Then with an exhalation, slowly bring down your entire back on the floor.
- Now, unfold the legs and relax the whole body. You can also come into Savasana, for relaxation.
It is highly recommended to use a Yoga mat in this asana. It will definitely make the asana more comfortable.
However, Bridge Pose is quite simple and easy, but, in the beginning, you might feel it difficult to hold this asana. So, you can place a Yoga Block under your sacrum to get additional support.
Also, you can push your back with your hands to raise the back. Ones you raise your back enough, place them beside your body.
For better comfort of your neck, you can place a folded blanket under your shoulder, neck, and head.
Precautions and Contraindications
- First of all, stretch according to your body limit. Do not go beyond your stretching limits, otherwise, you will end up hurting yourself.
- Ones you have raised your back, do not move or adjust the neck, as it can cause strain in your neck. If you want to adjust the position of the neck, firstly come back flat on the floor. Now, adjust the neck and come again to the Bridge Pose.
- If you have any recent or deep injury on your neck or back, or you are suffering from spondylitis (inflammation in the spine), do not perform this asana.
- A migraine patient should avoid the Bridge Pose. As this asana makes the flow of blood in the opposite direction, it can be unpleasant to a migraine patient.
How does Bridge Pose Works
Bridge pose is a deep stretching exercise that mainly stretches back, hips and neck. Let discuss the mechanism or the science behind Bridge pose works.
Starting from the lower body, lifting the back puts a little pressure on the feet. Then a stretch is felt on the thighs. The main stretch in this asana is on the back and spine.
While we lift the back, the muscles of the entire back and spine are stretched. In addition, lifting the back also creates a stretch in the core and abdomen.
The main pressure of lifting the back comes in the shoulders and neck, thus the muscles of the neck and shoulders are opened. Then, tucking the chin on the collarbones brings a good amount of stretch to the neck.
This is how the Setu Bandha Sarvangasana stretches the muscles of the body. Now, leet’s move towards its benefits.
Benefits of Bridge Pose
This asana comes with a lot of health benefits at a physical and mental level. It strengthens the body, makes it flexible and improves overall body shape. The following is a list of its benefits.
- The first thing this asana does is strengthening the spine. It applies pressure and stretches in the entire back. This increases the strength and flexibility of the back.
Also, this asana tones the muscles of the spinal column or vertebral columns. This helps in keeping the spine healthy.
- This asana tones the muscles of the neck. It removes strains from the neck and improves the posture of the neck.
- It increases the flow of the blood to the brain. This helps in reducing stress, depression and other negative emotions.
Also, it aids in improving mood and delivers sensations of joy and happiness.
- Through the stretch on core muscles, Bridge pose massages the internal muscles and glands of the abdominal region. It helps in improving the digestive system and metabolism.
- This asana stretches the chest region, that opens the full capacity of the lungs. It helps in the good health of the respiratory system.
Also, it prevents hypertension, blood pressure fluctuations, and asthma by soothing the whole chest region.
- The stretch in the pelvic floor massages and tones the muscles of the pelvic region. This helps in the good health of the organs in the pelvic region.
Also, it prevents irregularity in the mensuration cycle in women.
- It gradually soothes the muscles of the legs (calves and thighs), so, it is very beneficial for athletes and sportspersons.