I'm starting a New Series on the blog; 10 Asanas for a lifetime !!
I do have a rather long list :)
This post is about one of my favorite postures - The Bridge or Setu Bandhasana
Bridge the connection between your mind and body with this beautiful Back Bend...
This backbend strengthens the legs and hips, massages the spine, and opens the heart.
Regular practice of this posture gives you an opportunity to explore your body and its movements with attention and care.
As you do this, the mind is calmed, the body is energized and you end the practice feeling fresh and light!!
To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-distance apart on the floor, 10 - 12 inches from your pelvis. Rest your hands near your hips with the palms facing down, keep the chin slightly turned inward towards your chest, open up your neck at the back and release your shoulder blades to the floor.
Take several deep breaths, release your body to the floor completely, and gently bring your attention to the flow of inhalations and exhalations.
Now, to move into Bridge Posture safely and easily, press your feet evenly into the ground, and lift your hips gently off the mat.
See, explore how this movement feels from inside, breathe here gently for 3 breaths, and release your hips back to the earth.
Repeat this movement several times, each time try going a little further up your spine and get your hips a little further up in the air.
This wave-like action will fill your movements with gracefulness and wholeness and bring a deeper connection to your body's core.
After your body is comfortable with these movements, you can try to deepen the posture by increasing your breaths in it and by slowing allowing your spine to arch more and opening your chest and heart more.
Next time you inhale, bring your hands below your hips, interlace your fingers together, pull your shoulder blades closer, exhale and raise your hips gracefully off the earth, feel your spine opening and arching, feel your edge and then hold the posture, bringing your attention to making your breath long, deep and effortless - Remain calm, centered, focused; relax the mind's attention to this present pose; That's your Bridge Pose for Today!!
As you explore Bridge Pose, do keep in mind a few details.
First, avoid the tendency to let your knees splay wider than the feet; take care to keep your feet firmly planted to the earth as you rise upward, to prevent any injury to your knees.
Soften your face, and your breathing, and let the random thoughts in your mind float away on white clouds.... When you feel you want to return back to the ground, relax both hands back to the sides of your body, release your hips gently back, breathe comfortably, and observe the changes within your mind-body space...these few moments bring you back to your center.
10 Advantages of practicing Bridge:
1. Relief from headaches, insomnia, and anxiety
2. Calms your mind and nervous system
3. Increases lung capacity, so helps people with asthma
4. Stimulates the Thyroid gland, bringing back balance
5. Stretches the chest, neck, spine, and hips
6. Improves circulation of blood
7. Strengthens the back, glutes, and hamstrings
8. Improves circulation of blood
9. Improves posture and counteracts the effects of prolonged sitting and computer work. It may help relieve low back pain and can counteract slouching
10. This Backbend can be performed restoratively or dynamically—as a resting pose or a strengthener. It will allow you to gain the deep emotional and physical benefits of opening up your chest and thoracic spine.
Hopefully, this will inspire you to practice Bridge - do a crossover from the outer world, and reconnect to yourself - that's worth it!!