How To Do The Setu Bandhasana And What Are Its Benefits

by Shirin Mehdi

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or bridge pose is a common posture or asana. Sanskrit: सेतुबन्धासन; Setu – Bridge, Bandha – Bind/Lock, Asana – Pose/Posture; Pronounced as SAY-tuh-bun-DHAHS-ana.

This asana gets its name from the Sanskrit words ‘Setu’, which means bridge, ‘Bandha’, which means lock, and ‘Asana’, which means pose. This pose resembles the structure of a bridge, and therefore, it is named as such. This pose stretches your back, neck, and chest and relaxes your body.

Everything You Need To Know About The Setu Bandhasana

1. What You Should Know Before You Do This Asana
2. How To Do The Setu Bandhasana
3. Precautions And Contraindications
4. Beginner’s Tips
5. Advanced Pose Variations
6. Benefits Of Setu Bandhasana
7. The Science Behind The Bridge Pose
8. Preparatory Poses
9. Follow-Up Poses

What You Should Know Before You Do This Asana

This asana must be done when your bowels and stomach are absolutely empty. Make sure you have your meals at least four to six hours before the practice. Your food will be digested, and there will be enough energy to expend.

Although it is best to practice this asana in the morning, you could also practice it in the evening.

  • Level: Basic
  • Style: Vinyasa
  • Duration: 30 to 60 Seconds
  • Repetition: None
  • Stretches: Thorax, Neck, Vertebral column
  • Strengthens: Legs, Back, Neck, Chest

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How To Do The Setu Bandhasana

  1. Begin the asana by lying flat on your back.
  1. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor hip-width apart. Make sure that your ankles and knees are placed in a straight line.
  1. Let your arms rest beside your body, with your palms facing downwards.
  1. Inhale, and lift your back (lower, upper, and middle) off the floor. Roll in your shoulders, and make sure your chin touches your chest without you having to move it. Let your shoulders, feet, and arms support your weight.
  1. Firm up your buttocks as you tighten them. Make sure your thighs are parallel to each other and the floor.
  1. Interlace your fingers and push your hands harder to the ground to lift your torso higher.
  1. Hold the posture for at least a minute. Breathe slowly and deeply.
  1. Exhale and release the pose.

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Precautions And Contraindications

These are some points of caution you must keep in mind while you practice this asana.

  1. People who are suffering from a neck injury must either completely avoid this asana, or do it with a doctor’s permission under a certified yoga instructor.
  2. Pregnant women may do this asana, but not to the full capacity. They must do it under the guidance of a yoga expert. If they are in their third trimester, they must do this asana with a doctor’s consent.
  3. If you have back problems, you must avoid this asana.

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Beginner’s Tips

Beginners must keep in mind that when they roll their shoulders underneath, they must not pull them away forcefully from the ears. This will tend to overstretch their necks. Gently lift the tops of the shoulders towards the ear while pushing the insides of the shoulder blades away from the spine.

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Advanced Pose Variations

To deepen the pose, once you are comfortable in the pose, lift your heels off the floor, and push your tailbone up, closer to the pubis.

Image: Shutterstock

You could also try the Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana.

Once you take position, lift your right knee, right into the torso. Inhale, and stretch the leg that is perpendicular to the floor. Stay in position for at least 30 seconds. Then, exhale and release the foot. Lock in the foot again, and repeat the same on the left leg for an equal amount of time.

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Benefits Of Setu Bandhasana

Take a look at some amazing benefits of bridge pose.

  1. This asana helps to strengthen the muscles of the back. The stretch also helps to relieve the stress trapped in the back.
  1. This asana stretches and tones the neck, spine, and chest.
  1. Practicing this asana reduces depression, stress, and anxiety and calms the brain.
  1. The lungs are opened up, and thyroid problems are reduced.
  1. This asana also massages the digestive organs, thereby helping to improve digestion.
  1. This asana greatly benefits pregnant women and also helps alleviate menstrual pain and symptoms of menopause.
  1. It also aids high blood pressure, sinusitis, asthma, insomnia, and osteoporosis.
  1. With regular practice of this asana, blood circulation is improved too.

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The Science Behind The Bridge Pose

This pose, also called the Bridge Pose, completely opens up the heart, chest, and shoulders. The back of the neck, the hip flexors, the spine, and the thighs also get a good stretch.

Your heart is placed higher than your head in this asana, and therefore, it is considered a mild inversion. Yet, it gives you all the benefits of an inversion i.e., relief from anxiety, fatigue, stress, insomnia, headaches, and mild depression. It calms the mind and reduces the blood pressure, in fact, normalizing it. The opening of the chest entails an increase in the lung capacity, and therefore, this asana greatly benefits those suffering from asthma.

This asana stimulates the thyroid glands and helps regulate metabolism. It is a great asana for those who spend the whole day in front of the computer, owing to their jobs. The stretch in the knees and shoulders acts like a massage, therefore refreshing and rejuvenating the practitioner.

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Preparatory Poses

Adho Mukha Svanasana

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Follow-Up Poses

Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Udharva Dhanurasana

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This is a fairly simple asana that has a whole lot of benefits, owing to the stretching of almost the entire body. You must definitely add it to your usual workout regimen.

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Shirin Mehdi

A jack of many trades and a master of some, Shirin is a writer, a fashion designer, and a chef by her own acclaim. She loves food, and though she might want to call herself a great cook, she just falls short of seasoning. She also loves Yoga, and has extensive knowledge about the postures of the asanas. Always muddled up between traditions and modernism, she thinks she would have been a better fit in the vintage era. She loves life and believes in living it up to the fullest.