Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
setu = dam, dike, or bridge
bandha = lock
The benefits of this yoga position include stress relief and upper body strength. Relaxing the body and bringing clarity to the mind, the pose works as a introduction to the Shoulderstand Posture. This pose must be included in consistent yoga exercise. This yoga asana is simple, yet, has many benefits.
Stretches the chest, neck, and spine
Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression
Stimulates abdominal organs (improving digestion), lungs, and thyroid, and also tired legs
Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and supported for menstrual discomfort
Reduces anxiety, backache, fatigue, headache, and insomnia
Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis
Neck injury: avoid this pose unless you are practicing under the supervision of an experienced teacher.
Performing the Asana
Lie supine on the floor - you may use a blanket or bolster under your neck for support. Your heels should remain as close to your hips as possible.
Your shoulderblades should press away from your ears and pull back to the center of the spine with an exhalation. You feet and arms will anchor your hips off of the mat as you pull your bellybutton towards your spine to tuck the hips. You may clasp your hands together.
With your feet and thighs parallel, elongate your spine while lifting from your core. Inhale.
Relax your chin near your chest and your throat will soften. Your weight will rest in your upper shoulders for support.
As you release, roll down and out through your spine.
Modify Your Practice
You may use an extra blanket or bolster under your lower back as you exit the asana. This will provide extra support as well as a natural rolling affect to be learned during future practice.
Exhale, extending each leg separately into an extension. Hold for 3 breaths, then release each foot to the floor again with an exhalation. With each extension, rest and re-balance in the basic posture.
Complimentary Yoga Poses
Bhujangasana - Cobra Pose
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana - Upwards Facing Dog Pose
Virasana - Hero Pose
Tips for Beginners
Be careful not to pull the shoulderblades down to quickly to overstrain the muscles of the neck. Breathe deeply and you will settle into alignment by weight distribution within the shoulders, arms, and heels.
Deepen the Pose
Flexion of the pubis and hips will provide a deeper stretch to the hips and illiopsoas. This is recommended to students who truly feel their instruction adequate to be advanced.
A partner may gently touch each side of your hips to provide the physical reminder of lift. By extending the inner knee, it teaches the knee proper alignment during backbends.