Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
Instructions: Lay on your back on a firm surface. Step both of your feet in towards your hips so that your knees stack over your ankles. Bring your arms down by your sides, with your palms facing down. Use your shoulders and the strength of your legs to lift your hips off of the ground. If possible, try to engage your hamstrings and quadriceps, and relax the space around your lower back. Be aware of how much weight and pressure your allowing in your neck. If you feel any discomfort in your knees or neck back off a bit by lowering your hips. Take 5 – 10 deep breaths and then after you have lowered back down give your self a few moments with the knees moving in towards your belly for rest.
1. Take a restorative variation by placing a yoga block underneath your hips
2. Squeeze a yoga block between your inner thighs to build strength
3. Interlace your hands underneath your body, keep your upper arms pressing down
Benefits: Bridge pose strengthens the supporting muscles of the lower back while stretching the shoulders, chest, & neck, strengthening the legs, and extending the spine.
Cautions: If you have neck injury consider the restorative option 1, or if necessary skip this posture. Also, once you have lifted the hips and spine off the ground if you experience any pain in the knees, hip, or neck lower your hips a bit closer to the ground.