Setu Bandha Sarvangasana: Many benefits of the asana for mind and body

If there is one asana that rejuvenates the mind and the body by easing stress and promoting positive feelings, it is Setu Bandhasana or Bridge Pose. An inverted asana, the pose finds mention in Kamapithasana in the 19th century text Sritattvanidhi. To be done on empty stomach with a gap of around 5-6 hours between the meals, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Setu Bandhasana can detox your digestive system, provide relief in symptoms of mild depression and also eases menstrual pain in women. One of the most prominent benefits of the asana is its ability in curing back pain and spine issues. For people with sedentary lifestyle and those who work long hours on computer can especially benefit from this asana as it strengthens legs, thighs, removes stiffness from neck, provides energy and also alleviates back pain.

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The word 'Setu' in Sanskrit means bridge and when one gets into the posture resembling a 'setu' it provides a good stretch to their spine, neck, legs and if done correctly even elbows. A powerful pose, Setu Bandhasana must be practiced every day to see its miraculous benefits for body flexibility and mental health wonders.

How to do Setu Bandhasana

1. Lie down on your back and try to draw your heels as close as possible to your butt. Hold your ankle and make sure your thumb is outside.

2. It is important that your ankles and knees resemble a straight line, your arms are placed sidewards.

3. Inhale and lift your hips upwards so that the upper part of your legs is parallel to your arms.

4. Your chin should naturally touch your chest without forcing. Your shoulders, feet, and arms will support your weight.

5. You will find your thighs parallel to the floor.

6. Try to lift yourself as high as possible and stay there for a couple of minutes. While releasing the posture, exhale gently and bring your hips down. Relax in Savasana.

Benefits of Setu Bandhasana

Setu Bandhasana not only eases stress in your muscles and rejuvenates you almost instantly, it also helps improve blood circulation in the brain, thereby providing relief from anxiety issues and depression. Besides, the asana is particularly useful for people with lung health issues and digestive troubles.

1. Relieve back and neck pain: Setu Bandhasana, the back-bending pose provides a nice stretch to your spine, relieving tension from your back muscles and heal chronic back pain issues too. People who have to work on computer for long working hours, can also provide a nice stretch to their neck, legs, thighs and even elbows with this stretch.

2. Respiratory health: This asana opens up your chest and the lungs and enhances their capacity. People suffering from asthma may find this asana extremely beneficial in managing their symptoms.

3. Mental health: Setu Bandh Sarvangasana can work wonders for your mental health and being an inverted pose, it can provide relief from anxiety, fatigue, stress, insomnia, headaches, and mild depression.

4. Improves digestion: Setu Bandhasana is the answer to your constipation, bloating and acidity woes. It massages the digestive organs, thereby helping to improve digestion.

5. Women's health: This asana is women-friendly as it is helpful in relieving menstrual pain and symptoms of menopause. It is also useful during pregnancy. However, it must only be practiced in the supervision of a Yoga trainer.

6. High blood pressure: Setu Bandh Sarvangasana also helps in stabilising high blood pressure, sinusitis, insomnia, and osteoporosis.

7. Thyroid health: The asana helps in release of thyroxin hormone and helps to regulate functions of thyroid gland.

Ek Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

One of the popular variations of this asana is Ek Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana wherein after getting into the primary pose, you lift your heels off the floor, push your tail-bone up and provide additional stretch to your legs, abdominal muscles and improve your brain health.

Who should not do Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

1. While Satu Bandhasana is quite beneficial for preventing and alleviating back pain, if you have any pre-existing back problem, you must avoid this asana or consult with your Yoga trainer.

2. People who have neck injuries are advised to avoid the asana or perform it under strict supervision of their Yoga instructor.

3. Pregnant women may do this Asana, but not to the full capacity. They must consult their Yoga expert and do it in their guidance if advised so. If they are in their third trimester, they must do this asana with a doctor’s consent.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana like its name provides stretch to almost all organs of the body. The benefit begins with relieving of stress in muscles and extends to feeling energetic throughout the day. A great mood booster, the asana also transforms a wide range of your body functions. Be it regularising your bowel movements or alleviating indigestion issues the asana helps in detoxification of your body. The lung function that also got greatly affected due to Covid pandemic can be enhanced with this asana as it opens up chest and lungs, working wonders for your respiratory health too. With so many aspects of well-being taken care of, this asana indeed can be life transformative.