Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Setu Bandhasana is an asana in which the performer needs to assume the shape of a bridge. Therefore the asana is called as Setu Bandhasana or Bridge Pose. The asana helps in stretching your back, neck and chest while it relaxes your body as a whole. It also strengthens your legs, back and chest.
Setu Bandha = Bridge
Asana = Pose, Posture
Preparation for Setu Bandhasana
- Setu Bandhasana should be done on empty stomach. Make sure that you take your food 4-6 hours before performing this asana. This will give sufficient time for the food to digest and give you the needed energy to carry out the asana effortlessly.
- Clean and empty your bowel and bladder before performing Setu Bandhasana.
- For optimum results, perform this asana early in the morning. You can alternatively do it in the evening too.
Method of doing Setu Bandhasana
Positioning for the Asana
- Lie down on the Yoga Mat on your back. Make yourself comfortable.
Performing and getting to the Setu Bandhasana
- After positioning yourself by comfortably lying down on the floor, bed your knees and place your feet on the floor. Let your feet be placed at hip-width apart. Ensure that your ankles and knees are placed in a straight line.
- Let your arms rest beside your body. Your palms must be facing downwards, resting on the floor.
- Now inhale and slowly lift your back. Lift your lower back, middle back and upper back off the floor gradually.
- Roll in your shoulders. Make sure that your chin touches your chest. Your shoulders, feet and arms (hands are supporting you.
- Firm up your butts as you tighten them.
- Make sure that your thighs are parallel to each other. They should also be parallel to the floor.
- Bring both your hands closer and interlace your fingers beneath your torso (which is now off the floor). Push your hands harder against the floor. This push enables you to lift your torso higher.
- Now your body is looking like a bridge.
Release from the asana and coming back to the point of start
- Hold yourself in this pose for at least a minute.
- Breathe slowly and deeply.
- Slowly release from the pose while bringing your torso and thighs to the floor as you exhale.
- Finish off lying on the floor on your back as you had started the pose.
Tips for Beginners
Beginners of Setu Bandha Asana should be careful while they roll their shoulders underneath the torso. They must be careful not to pull them away forcefully from the ears. This will overstretch their neck and may cause pain and discomfort. Gently lift the tops of the shoulders towards the ears while pushing the inside parts of the shoulder blades away from the spine.
Variations of Setu Bandhasana
- Once you are comfortable doing the bridge pose, you can go for deep poses. For deep pose, slowly lift your heels off the floor and push your tailbone up, closer to the pubis.
- Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana can also be tried.
- After taking the position, you need to lift your right knee, right into the torso. Now inhale and stretch the leg that is perpendicular to the floor. Stay in the position for half minute. Now exhale and release your foot. Lock in the foot again. Repeat the same act on the left leg for half minute.
Purva and Paschat Asanas
Purva Asanas (Preparatory Asanas)
Before Setu Bandhasana, you can do one or more of the below mentioned Asanas –
Paschat Asanas (Post-Setu Bandhasana Poses)
After performing Setu Bandhasana, one can perform –
- Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
- Udharva Dhanurasana
Duration, health benefits
How long to do it?
One can stay in Setu Bandhasana for a time period of 30-60 seconds at a stretch
Health Benefits of SetuBandhasana
- Setu Bandhasana strengthens the muscles of your back. The stress and strain in the muscles of the back are released by the stretch provided by the asana.
- The asana stretches and tones the neck, spine and chest.
- The asana tones up the muscles of the abdomen and gives a good massage to the digestive organs. This helps in enhancing the digestion.
- Regular practice of this asana helps in improving the circulation in the body.
- The lungs open up due to this asana and the breathing becomes good. It cures asthma and sinusitis.
- It is a good remedy for thyroid disorders.
- Setu Bandhasana calms the brain and nerves. It is a good remedy for depression, anxiety and stress. It is a good remedy for insomnia.
- The asana is a treatment for high blood pressure (hypertension), and osteoporosis.
- It helps to alleviate menstrual pain and symptoms of menopause.
- This asana is a good exercise for pregnant women.
Effect of Setu Bandhasana – Ayurveda details:
Effect on Doshas
Effect of Setu Bandhasana on Doshas and Subtypes
Setu Bandhasana controls and balances the Prana Vayu. Therefore it keeps you free of stress, anxiety and depression and also keeps your mind in a state of health. It also helps in inducing good sleep and keeps your brain and nerves calm.
Setu Bandhasana balances the equilibrium between Prana Vayu and Udana Vayu, therefore helps in proper breathing mechanism. It helps in maintenance of the health of lungs and heart. This also happens because this asana opens up and stretches the chest
. It provides good cure for asthma and other breathing disorders and also wards off thyroid problems.
This asana also balances the Vyana Vayu and helps in proper circulation of blood, oxygen and nutrition to all parts of the body and keeps the body energetic, enthusiastic and invigorated with zeal.
By balancing and calming the apana vayu, Setu Bandhasana helps in warding off the menstrual pain and regulates the monthly menstrual cycles in women. It also helps in clearing the constipation and improves bladder health.
By giving a massage to the abdominal muscles and also the abdominal organs, mainly the digestive organs, the Setu Bandhasana helps in stimulating Samana Vayu and Pachaka Pitta, thus kindling the digestive fire tot optimum. This helps in proper digestion of food.
Thus, Setu Bandhasana is an effective asana to combat Vata and all its subtypes in the body.
Effect on Dhatus
Effect of Setu Bandhasana on Dhatus –
Setu Bandhasana strengthens and stretches the mamsa dhatu (muscle tissue) of the back, neck, belly (abdomen) and chest. By doing so the asana helps in removing stress and strain in these muscles. It is a good remedy for back pain, neck pain and digestive disorders. It also helps open up the chest and aids proper circulation.
Effect on Malas
Effect of Setu Bandhasana on Malas –
Setu Bandhasana helps in proper and timely voiding of stools (feces, mala, pureesha) and urine (mutra) by balancing the Apana Vayu, at the same time it also helps in regulating menstrual cycles in women and cures dysmenorrhea and other menstrual disorders, pain and irregularities. It helps in keeping the pelvic organs healthy.
Setu Bandhasana, what it promises!
This pose effectively helps in opening up your shoulders, chest and heart. It helps in proper functioning of chest organs i.e. heart and lungs and enables proper circulation of blood and oxygen to all parts of the body. It also helps in fine-tuning the activities of thyroid gland. It gives a good stretch to the spine, neck, hip flexors and thighs.
While doing this asana, your heart is placed higher than the head (brain). Therefore this asana is considered as a mild inversion. It gives you all the benefits of inversion. It relieves you from insomnia, headaches, anxiety, depression, fatigue, stress, reduces blood pressure, calms the mind and senses.
Since the asana opens up the chest, it helps in increasing the lung capacity and thus it is the most beneficial asana for those who are suffering from asthma.
This asana effectively stimulates the thyroid glands and helps in regulation of metabolism. It is also good exercise for computer related stress and fatigue, for those who work for hours in front of the computer screen.
By giving a good stretch in the key joints of the body i.e. knee joints and shoulders, Setu Bandhasana refreshes and rejuvenates the doer.
Impact on Chakras
It operates on your Vishuddha Chakra or the Throat Chakra. While doing this asana, your chin will automatically touch the top of your sternum bone and cause the chin lock (Jalandhar Bandha). When this chin lock happens, the Vishuddha Chakra located in the vicinity of your throat gets activated. When this Chakra gets activated, it will help you in expressing your feelings and thoughts in an easy and effortless way. This will also help in reducing your anxiety, thyroid disorders and other throat related disorders.
Who should not do bridge pose?
Patients suffering from below mentioned conditions should avoid doing Setu Bandhasana –
- Neck injury
- Low Back injury or back related problems
Pregnant women may do this asana but under supervision and guidance from an expert Yoga tutor. It cannot be done to its full capacity.
Just Before Finish
Setu Bandhasana is a comprehensive exercise and a fabulous workout for your spine, abdomen, thighs, hip, neck and chest. It opens up the chest organs and helps in free circulation of blood and oxygen in the body, which in turn provides you with fresh energy and enthusiasm. At the same time it is an unparalleled remedy for your throat disorders and thyroid issues. In this article I have covered in detail about the practice of Setu Bandhasana including the indications and contraindications, method of doing the asana and its health benefits.
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