The Bridge Pose - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
This pose opens up your shoulders and chest and strengthens your back, glutes and hamstring muscles.
It also stretches your hip flexors and thighs while increasing flexibility in your spine.
1. Lie down on your back. Bend both knees and place the soles of your feet flat on the floor, as shown in the photo above. Allow your arms to rest alongside your torso. Align your knees directly above your heels. Keep your knees hip-width apart and your feet parallel to each other.
2. Root your feet into the earth and mindfully, slowly, lift your buttocks up and away from the floor, while keeping your knees in line with your hips.
Hug your inner thighs toward each other without letting them touch. Imagine that you’re holding a small beach ball between your thighs.
Press the back of your head into the floor and lift your chest toward the sky.
Allow a small space to happen between the back of your neck and the floor, to maintain the dignity of your spine.
3. If you’re a beginner, rest your arms alongside you torso. To go deeper into
the pose, lace your fingers beneath your body and draw your shoulder blades toward each other, as shown in the second photo.
You can also straighten your arms and reach for your heels. Or as you become more advanced, you can place your hands on your lower back to bring the hips up even higher while resting on your upper arms (see the bottom photo).
Take a few rounds of deep breaths.
To release from the pose, slowly unlace your fingers and lower your torso back toward the floor.
Disclaimer: Do not begin any physical activity described in this column without prior approval from your health care professional.