Setu Asana – The Bridge Pose

Setu Asana is a backward bending pose that tones the lumbar region of the spine and gives good stretch to the abdominal muscles. In Sanskrit, Setu means a bridge and Asana means a pose. The pose looks like a bridge in the final position, hence the name Setu Asana.

Setu Asana should be avoided by those who have severe pain in the elbow and wrist. Those with cervical spondylitis should avoid the backward bending of the head in the final position. Those with problems of vertigo, dizziness and high blood pressure should also avoid the backward bending of the head.

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How to do Setu Asana (The Bridge Pose)?

  1. Sit on the floor with legs stretched out. Place the palms on the floor next to the buttocks.
  2. Slide the palms on the floor backwards as far as you can and make the fingers point backwards.
  3. Bend the knees slightly so that the feet are flat on the ground for giving support.
  4. Inhale deeply and then hold the breath. Now, raise the body above the ground. The weight of the body should be supported by the feet and the palms alone. Make sure the elbow is straight.
  5. Bring the entire body in an almost straight line.
  6. Bend the head backwards. This is the final position.
  7. Remain in this position for as long as you are comfortable. Retain the breath inside for as long as you can. You may also do slow and deep breathing in the final position. The concentration can be maintained on the back and abdominal muscles.
  8. To release the pose, exhale and bring the head back to normal position and lower the buttocks to touch the ground. The legs are again stretched out in front of you and the hands are next to the buttocks. Take few normal breaths.
  9. This process can be repeated for as many times as you want.

Benefits of Setu Asana (The Bridge Pose)

  1. Setu Asana tones the lumbar region of the spine. This strengthens the lower back muscles and prevents lower back pain.
  2. The achilles tendon behind the ankles also gets a good stretch.
  3. Setu Asana being a backward bending asana is good for the spine. It will prevent slipped disc and other back ailments. The spinal nerves that emerge from between the vertebrae are also toned, which improves the health of the entire body and organs.
  4. It improves the circulation of blood to the muscles in the back and also stretches the abdominal muscles.