Setubandha means formation of a bridge. That’s exactly what you need to emulate in this yoga posture. The bridge pose, also called setu bandhasana or chatush padasana, is one of the more effective yoga poses working wonders for your brain and spine.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits you can reap from this very popular asana.
Health Benefits Of The Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
1. Increases Blood Circulation
This isn’t difficult to comprehend. The bridge posture requires you to elevate your hips so blood flow is directed to your heart and brain. This in turn supports blood circulation to all parts of your body including your extremities.
2. Gives Your Spine A Much-Needed Stretch
The very essence of the bridge pose is a well-arched back. Desk jobs and jobs that require you to be sitting all day are, in the long run, going to have very harmful effects on your spinal column. Your spine may even shorten in length.
It is important to stretch your spine every now and then just as you need to stretch legs tired from hours of sitting. The bridge pose helps achieve this.
3. Strengthens Your Lower Back And Lower Body
By keeping the muscles of your lower back in a state of contraction, the bridge pose helps strengthen your lower back. It is comparable to planks held to strengthen abdominal core muscles.
The shift of body weight to your feet as you balance yourself, with the support from your thigh and calf muscles, helps tone leg muscles as well.
4. Prevents The Desk-Job Hunch
Also sharing the weight of your body in the bridge pose are your shoulders. Regularly practicing this pose will keep you from developing rounded shoulders typical of those who spend most of their day sitting.
Keeping your shoulder frame intact, the bridge pose helps reverse any shoulder damage brought on by a sedentary lifestyle.
5. Loosens Up Your Hip Muscles
While performing the bridge pose, it is important to keep your knees hip-width apart. By doing so, you will be able to loosen relax your hips flexors, another set of muscles victimized by long hours of sitting.
Alternating contraction and relaxation of your hip flexors as you move in and out of the bridge pose will give your hips a good workout. We’re talking toned buttocks!
6. Stimulates Your Lungs And Thyroid Gland
When done correctly, the bridge pose gives your abdominal organs, including your lungs, a good ol’ stretch. Also, the pressure created below your chin on your neck is felt by your thyroid gland. In this way, the bridge pose helps in the better functioning of these organs. Not many conventional exercises can achieve this.
7. Improves Digestion And Treats Constipation
As you raise your hips to accomplish the bridge pose, your urinary tract and rectum get squeezed. This is good for your digestive and excretory systems. Drinking a glass of warm milk and then performing this asana has been seen to relieve constipation in many instances.
8. Helps You Forget Your Worries
Depression and anxiety are two words that are becoming way too common, even more so among the younger working population. In the midst of this never-ceasing rat race, it’s important to do all you can to reduce mental stress. One way is by regularly practicing the bridge pose. Like all yoga asanas, it too helps calm a troubled mind and forces you to witness the essence of your very being.
9. Relieves Menopause Symptoms
The positive effects of the bridge pose on menopausal women probably has to do with the improved blood circulation and brain stimulation. A calmer state of mind too helps relieve some of the symptoms of menopause.
The Right Way To Do The Bridge Pose
- Lie on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor. Keep your knees hip-width apart and pull your ankles to your buttocks.
- You may continue holding your ankles, depending on your flexibility, or you may rest your palms face down alongside your body.
- Pressing your feet and arms against the floor, inhale and lift your hips and chest up. Simultaneously arch your back and roll your spine off the floor.
- Ensure your shoulders and head are touching the floor in the final pose.
- Hold the pose for 4–8 normal breaths or 10–30 seconds. You know you’re doing it right when you feel the pressure on your lower spine.
- Exhale and slowly lower your hip down till you are lying flat on the ground. Repeat the asana 4–5 times at least.
Words Of Caution
Women in advanced stages of pregnancy and those suffering from ulcers, hernia, or slipped discs should not attempt this asana. Also, those who have undergone back, neck, shoulder, or brain surgeries should refrain from practicing the bridge pose.