Backbending poses are great for opening your heart and chest, both figuratively and literally. I love this particular backbend because not only does it increase flexibility in your spine, but it also stretches out your shoulders and the back of your neck. Because it doesn't require a lot of energy, it has both a calming and energetic effect on the body and mind.
|Sanskrit Name: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
English Translation: Bridge Pose
Also Called: Half Wheel
- Begin lying flat on your back with your arms along the sides of your body, with your palms facing down.
- Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Walk your heels as close as you can to your bum, and turn your heels out slightly so the outside edges of your feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat.
- With your palms and feet pressing firmly into the ground, lift your hips up. Try to keep your thighs parallel.
- Stay here, or clasp your hands together below your pelvis, extending through your arms. I like to rock my weight from side to side so that I can pull my shoulders in and bring my shoulder blades closer together.
- Stay here for 5 or more deep breaths. Try to keep lifting the hips up as high as you can, and gaze towards your belly. You can watch to make sure you are doing ujayi breathing correctly. Your stomach should remain still, and you should be able to see your ribs expanding and contracting with each complete breath.
- After you've had enough, gently drop your bum back onto the ground. You can repeat this pose again after taking a break, or stretch through your lower back by hugging your knees into your chest.