Setu Bhandasana, Bridge pose, is one I can’t live without.
A little dramatic? Perhaps. My relationship with bridge pose is intimate - it has seen me through terrible sciatica and lower back pain, tightness in the neck and, on a more emotional level, helped ease me out of sadness and exhaustion.
Unless you have a neck injury, Setu Bhandasana truly is for everyone, whether you’re looking to practice something active or passive.
The posture lengthens the spine and neck, broadens the chest and energizes the body in its active form while calming the body in its supported version.
Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Lie down on your back with your feet planted on the floor, hip-width distance and arms down by your sides, palms against the floor.
Your feet should be close enough to your hips that your fingers can reach your heels.
On an inhale, press your feet down and lift your hips up towards the sky.
If you'd like to try the active version you have the option of interlacing your fingers underneath your spine or bend your elbows and point your fingers up to the ceiling.
Press the upper arm bones into the floor and let the chest glide towards your chin as the neck stays relaxed.
For the restorative variation, simply place one or two yoga blocks or thick books under your sacrum, the triangular bone located at the base of the spine, and rest your hands on the floor with the palms turned up.
Stay in the active pose for 5 cycles of breath and in the restorative version from 3 to 10 minutes.