What is Setu Bandha Sarvangasana?
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, also known as the Bridge Pose or Setubanda, is an inverted back-bending asana.
The meaning of the term Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is derived from Sanskrit words ‘Setu’ meaning bridge, ‘Bandha’ meaning to lock, ‘Sarva’ meaning all, ‘anga’ meaning limbs, and ‘asana’ meaning posture.
Setubanda is an intermediate level pose that’s often used to prepare the body to perform other advanced yoga asanas.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana works as a compound exercise that works on several groups of muscles including:
- Hip flexors
Who can perform Setu Bandha Sarvangasana?
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is a pose that can be performed by a variety of people including:
- Pregnant women can do Setu Bandha Sarvangasana but only under supervision.
- Those who have posture-related pain and stiffness.
- People who experience frequent digestion problems.
- Those are suffering from medical conditions such as osteoporosis, thyroid, asthma, high blood pressure, COPD etc.
- People who are unable to sleep properly or have been diagnosed with insomnia.
- Those who experience chronic stress and anxiety.
Who should avoid Setu Bandha Sarvangasana?
While a wide variety of people can do Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, it may pose a health risk for certain people. People in the following categories must not practice Setu Bandha Sarvangasana without consulting their doctor:
- Those who are suffering from an injury or pain in the knees, shoulder, or neck.
- If you have a fever, cold, or flu.
- Those who are experiencing severe stress or anxiety at the moment.
- People who suffer from conditions such as hernia, cervical spondylosis, and spinal disorders.
- Those who have recently undergone surgery and are yet to heal.
How is Setu Bandha Sarvangasana practised correctly?
To gain the Setu Bandha Sarvangasana benefits, it is important to know how to perform this asana correctly.
Here is a detailed explanation of how you can perfect the form of this asana:
- Lie on your back comfortably.
- Fold your knees gently and keep your feet hip-width apart. They should be placed around ten inches away from your pelvis.
- Keep your ankles and knees in a straight line and arms beside your body. Your palms must be facing down.
- Inhale deeply and gently lift your lower, middle, and upper back off the ground.
- Roll your shoulders and raise your chest to touch the chin. Remember not to bring the chin down.
- Support your weight with your shoulders, arms, and feet while keeping your thighs parallel to each other and the ground.
- You can support the back with your palms.
- Hold the pose for 50-60 seconds as you keep breathing deeply.
- Exhale and return to the starting position.
Sets and reps of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana: You can do 3-4 sets of 7-8 reps of this asana.
Which are some variations of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana?
The traditional pose of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana has some very effective supported variations. These variations range from supported bridge pose and its unsupported versions.
Supported bridge pose variations: This is Setu Bandhasana Iyengar yoga that encourages the use of props, to assist the practitioners. These supported poses are also known as Salamba Setu Bandha Sarvangasana. Here are some variations for you to try:
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana with chair and block: In this Setu Bandha Sarvangasana Iyengar variation, you need to place your feet and calves on a chair placed along a wall. Place two blocks, one lower and one higher, beneath your pelvis to raise its height. To keep the legs from moving away from one another, you can use a belt to secure them together. You can also place a blanket under your shoulders to do this pose of Salamba Setu Bandha Sarvangasana.
- Setu Bandhasana Iyengar yoga with three blocks: In this variation of the Setu Bandha Sarvangasana Iyengar yoga, you need to place three blocks. The tallest block supports your pelvis, one under the mid-sacrum, and two under your heels supported against a wall. This makes your legs level with your pelvis. You can also use a belt to secure your legs together and place a blanket under your shoulders to support them.
Unsupported bridge pose variations: These asanas use your bodyweight and are challenging variations of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana:
- Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana: This pose is a combination of sarvangasana and setu bandhasana. Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana takes over from the classic pose and requires you to lift one leg off the floor and extend towards the sky. This pose is held for 30-40 seconds and then released.
What are the benefits of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana?
Here is a roundup of some of the most important benefits of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana:
- This is an excellent stretch workout. It helps relax tired and stiff muscles and improves your circulation, which helps in keeping you healthy.
- This is a great pose of yoga for joint pain. By activating and strengthening your tendons and muscles, it helps in alleviating pains and tension.
- One of the most important benefits of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is that it helps prevent posture-related problems. It prevents lower back problems in people who need to sit for long hours.
- This stretch and release pose helps in opening up your lungs and heart. When practised regularly, it reduces the risk of heart diseases and respiratory problems.
- This asana is one of the most effective knee strength exercises beneficial for seniors who suffer from arthritis and athletes who want to improve their sports performance.
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is easy to include in your workout at home. It needs minimal set-up and can be done anywhere.
What are some tips for practising Setu Bandha Sarvangasana safely?
Here are some things to keep in mind to do Setu Bandha Sarvangasana safely:
- Learn this pose from an experienced trainer or join online yoga classes. This helps in preventing strain and injuries.
- If you have medical conditions, don’t do this asana without consulting your doctor.
While this is an amazing asana, to reap Setu Bandha Sarvangasana benefits, you need to be consistent with your practice. It is also important to relook your nutrition and sleep patterns for holistic gains from this asana.
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