Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Yoga Pose of the Day: Bridge Building Pose

Today's Yoga Pose of the Day is Setu Bandhasana, or Bridge Building Pose. Bridge Building Pose is excellent for building strength in your back and neck muscles and helps correct neck alignment (on that note, if you have ANY neck issues, DO NOT do this pose!!!). Also, because you lift your shoulders off the ground and extend through your upper body, you open your throat, stretching your esophagus, and stretch your chest, improving your lung capacity. Into improving your chakras? This pose stimulates your third chakra, thus helping in digestion.

This is an advanced form of bridge, so take your time with it and pay attention to the details about body placement to avoid strain.

1. Lie on your back in Corpse Pose, or Savasana, your arms resting at your sides. Remember to create length throughout your body, especially your spine, as if someone is pulling you at your feet and another pulling you at your head.

2-Bend your knees slightly, keeping the insides of your legs and feet glued together. It is important not to move your feet very close to your glutes; this will eventually place too much weight on your head when you move further into the pose.

3-Begin to externally rotate your legs, keeping your heels together, but placing the outside edges of your feet on the ground.

4-Begin to press your elbows into the ground and extending your chest straight upwards to the ceiling, eventually creating an arch in your spine that allows the top of your head to rest on the ground. At this point, you may cross your arms over your chest, resting your hands on your shoulders.

5-Take an inhalation and activate your core and legs, extending and raising your legs and glutes off the floor. It is very important that you create and maintain extension in your hips and your lower body by using your glutes more so than your hamstrings as this pose is very strenuous on your hamstrings and they may spasm.

6-When your legs and glutes have risen to their highest point, roll your head so that you are now resting on your forehead (this is hard, so stay on the crown of your head if you have any doubt about this move!)

Hold this position for five breaths.

7-On your next exhalation, lower your hips to the ground first. If you have raised your arms, return them to the ground next, so that they are there to support your neck as you roll your head back to a neutral position.

To counteract this move, roll your neck left and right, and do Roll Like a Ball.


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