Yoga Pose Breakdown: Bridge Pose, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

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Sanskrit Name: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (SET-too BAHN-dah) Setu = Bridge, Dike, or Dam Bandha = Lock

Get Started:

:: Begin on your back with your knees bent and your feet parallel on the ground. 
:: Lightly graze your heels with your middle finger to ensure that your knees are stacked over your ankles.
:: Push your tailbone toward your pubis and lift your hips high to the sky.
:: Option to interlace your fingers behind your back, creating a shelf for your heart, or leave your palms on the mat. :: Lift your chin slightly away from your sternum.
:: Firm your shoulder blades.
:: Energetically engage your inner thighs.
:: Look up.
:: Allow your core and legs to do this pose rather than engaging your 

Benefits: Bridge Pose stretches the chest, neck and spine, while stimulating the abdominal organs, lungs and thyroid. It helps rejuvenate tired leg and helps improve digestion. It also helps to calm the brain and alleviate stress and mild depression. It relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported (place a block under your sacrum) and can help relieve the symptoms of menopause. It reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache and insomnia. It can be therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and sinusitis. .

Contradictions: If you have a neck injury, avoid practicing this pose, unless an experienced teacher is helping you.

Know your asana: This is an excellent pose to practice with a block. Try placing it between your inner thighs to engage them or under your sacrum to take a more supported pose. This pose helps prepare you for Wheel Pose, which is a bigger backbend.

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