Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
(Bridge Pose, Version 1)
This is a backward extension in which the front of the body is opened, bringing freedom to the chest, abdomen and pelvic area. This pose is helpful to asthmatics and regulates high blood pressure. Through regular practice the neck is stretched and shoulder tension is relieved. It also helps ease headaches and nervous tension.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is also a mild inversion in which the heart is gently exercised. A longer stay in this pose quiets the mind and draws the consciousness inward. Due to the restorative nature of the pose, lost energy is replenished, the body is rested and the immune system is strengthened. Glands are also nourished, helping to regulate hormones, and digestion is improved.
To practice this position you will need firm pillows, blankets or yoga bolsters. You will also need two yoga belts or something similar.
1. Place folded blankets or bolsters on a level floor. The blankets should be even and firm.
2. Sit on the support and strap your thighs and ankles snugly together so that the legs can fully relax.
3. Lie down, placing your shoulders on the floor. The chest should lift and expand. Your neck should remain long, and the forehead should be level with the floor. Do not throw your head back.
4. Roll your upper arms out (external rotation) and let your elbows and wrists rest on the floor, palms up. Keep your arms about 45 degrees from the side of the body.
MANOA YOGA CENTER
Shelley Choy, co-director of Manoa Yoga Center, demonstrates Setu Bandha Sarvangasana.
5. Now close your eyes, un-furrow your brow and breathe softly through the nose.
6. As you breathe, release your elbows and wrists, allowing them to be fully supported by the floor. Feel the back of your head resting quietly on the floor. Let the spine take the shape of the support, and allow your legs to be held by the straps without effort.
7. When you inhale, allow the chest to gently spread and become vast. When you exhale, focus on the breath, allowing your mind to become quiet and nerves to be soothed.
8. Feel free to stay in this pose for extended periods of time, releasing mental tension and physical fatigue.
and Shelley Choy
are certified Iyengar Yoga teachers and co-direct the Manoa Yoga Center at Manoa Marketplace. Visit www.manoayoga.com
or call 382-3910. Manoa Yoga Center, the authors and the Star-Bulletin take no responsibility for any injury arising from the practice of these yoga postures. Readers should seek a doctor's approval before commencing this yoga practice.