Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Bridge Pose

Lie on your back and bend knees, bringing feet as close to hips as possible.On exhale press feet down and lift or curl tailbone up, lift buttocks, lower then upper back off floor.  Keep thighs parallel and feel that you pull knees away from the body, lengthening thighs, and lift pubis toward navel.  Clasp hands under back and bring shoulders as close together under you as possible.  Keep weight off the neck.  As you advance in this pose, try to release any squeezing or tightening of the buttocks.  You want to create space in lower spine and tailbone. Keep neck neutral, chin away from breast bone-sternum, rather bring sternum toward chin.  Remain and breathe easily as long as you wish.  When leaving pose, release hands, and move from top of spine down, tailbone last.

In addition to the well known version, you can increase its difficulty by walking feet away from buttocks, and lengthening legs so the body looks like a long, lovely Chinese bridge.  Place hands under back hipbones, fingers pointing toward feet, for support.

A third version is to lift legs into the air from here, exteding them long and strong out, away from torso. 

Parsva Sarvangasana– Is when you add side extensions and plane the entire length of torso and legs out, reachint to right then left.

Health Notes:  As it stretches chest, spine, and possibly the neck, it improves digestion, asthma, relieves menstrual discomfort, reduces anxiety, helps with backache, headache, and insomnia. It stimulates the organs, thyroid, and lungs, calms the brain, which is why sleeping, stress, and high blood pressure are helped.