«Setu Bandhasana», the «Bridge» does not belong to the 12 Basic Asanas of the Yoga Vidya Basic series, but it is one of the most important 84 Asanas and is practiced in Yoga Vidya as an Counter Position to «Sarvangasana», the «Shoulderstand» and «Halasana», the «Plow». Advanced Practitioners can continue after «Setu Bandhasana» to «Chakrasana», the «Wheel», or come straight to «Matsyasana», the «Fish».
The full «Bridge», with straightened legs
The Sanskrit name «Setu Bandhasana» means «bridge-building position» and refers to the way how the body describes a perfect arch from head to toes.
To build up the «Setu Bandhasana» after the «Shoulderstand», first roll yourself in a controlled manner, vertebra by vertebra from «Sarvangasana», the «Shoulderstand», until you are lying in the «Supine Position».
Place your feet close behind your buttocks and press your feet into the ground to raise your hips and release your back vertebra by vertebra from the ground.
Hold «Setu Bandhasana» as long as it is comfortable for you.
Setu Bandhasana out from the Shoulderstand
To go from «Sarvangasana» directly into «Setu Bandhasana», the «Bridge», bring one foot after the other behind you on the ground with a well supported back. If you are well practiced, you can land with both feet at the same time.
Once you have arrived in this position, then release your hands from your back and fold them under your buttocks.
Pull your shoulder blades close together, but leave your neck as much space as necessary.
Keep your feet open hip-wide and press your heels firmly into the ground.
More flexible Yogis can go further by straightening their legs, trying thereby to keep your elbows together and to bring your soles flat on the floor.
Caution with the Bridge
It is important to use the same hand position — thumbs upwards — in the «Bridge» as in the «Shoulderstand». Thumbs placed behind the back could sprain.
Dissolving Setu Bandhasana
To dissolve «Setu Bandhasana», release your hands and place your back vertebra by vertebra on the floor.
Now let your knees collapse or fall apart with your legs set on the floor, or trace in «Shavasana», the «Back Relaxation Position», «Setu Bandhasana».
The effects of Setu Setu Bandhasana
The physical effect of Setu Bandhasana
«Setu Bandhasana» strengthens the wrists, legs and buttocks, normalizes the function of the thyroid gland and thus the metabolism in the whole body. In «Setu Bandhasana» the abdominal organs are stretched and digestion is promoted. Through «Setu Bandhasana» the spine remains or becomes flexible. Neck tensions and tensions in the lumbar spine are released by «Setu Bandhasana».
Because the hip is higher than the head, «Setu Bandhasana» is considered to be half «Reverse Position». As a «Reverse Position» «Setu Bandhasana» improves the return flow of venous blood to the heart and the regeneration of the abdominal organs.
Leg muscles (biceps femoris).
Gluteal muscles (gluteus maximus).
The muscles of the front of the body are stretched.
Straight abdominal muscles (rectus abdomini).
Quadrizeps (Quadriceps femoris).
The mental effect of Setu Bandhasana
«Setu Bandhasana» helps to come to wholeness. An important task in life is to build bridges between different aspects of life. Bridges can also help to overcome and to bridge over difficult times, these support us to reach the other side in case of an abyss.
The energetic effect of Setu Bandhasana
«Setu Bandhasana», like «Shirshasana» («Headstand») and «Sarvangasana» («Shoulderstand»), is one of the rejuvenation exercises, furthermore «Setu Bandhasana» regenerates the «Prana».
Specially addressed effect of Setu Bandhasana
Posture of the Bridge
In this video you learn the «Bridge Posture» («Setubhandasana») and the «Wheel Posture» («Chakrasana»). These exercises are practiced within the Shoulderstand Cycle.
Posture of the Bridge — Asana lexicon
If you want to do a Counter-Movement after the «Shoulderstand», watch this video in which Sukadev explains the «Bridge» and Mirabai does the Asana!