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Benefits of Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht

By Dr. Himani Bisht +2 more

Introduction: 

Does the image of a chilly mountain-top and a person sitting with their eyes shut pop into your brain when the word yoga is uttered? Well, it might be a common thought that crosses most of our minds, but it is not necessarily the only way to perform yoga. You can perform yoga anywhere after learning the proper techniques from a trained yoga teacher.  

setu bandhasana yoga pose

Yoga is an age-old practice. It is a science based on practise of techniques that might help in harmonising the body and mind. It is believed that yoga asanas might positively affect the functioning of the body. It is believed that certain postures, known as asanas might help the body relax and might benefit us mentally and physically.1  

In this article, we will get to know more about setu bandhasana. Read along to find out more. 

What is Setu Bandhasana? 

Setu bandhasana is also referred to as the setu bandha sarvangasana. Its name originates from the Sanskrit words setu meaning bridge, bandha meaning lock, and asana means pose. Hence the name setu bandhasana or the bridge pose. The name comes from the bridge-resembling posture of this asana. The pose falls under the category of basic vinyasa. Vinyasa is a yoga technique in which we transition from one pose to the next one continuously, the asanas are performed together and not alone.2  

The bridge pose yoga might help strengthen your back, neck, chest and legs. It might also stretch your neck, vertebral column (the bony case which protects the spine) and your upper body (thorax). The preparatory poses for setu bandhasana are bhujangasana (cobra pose), virasana (hero pose) and adho mukha svanasana (downward dog pose). The follow-up poses are eka pada setu bandha sarvangasana (single leg bridge pose), chakrasana (wheel pose) or udhava dhanurasana (upward-facing bow pose). Let’s look at the steps to do setu bandhasana.2 

Also Read: Benefits of Garudasana (Eagle Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

For experienced yoga practitioners, if you wish to practice Setu Bandhasana, you must prepare your body by doing Suryanamskara and Bhujangasana first. These both will help in preparing and warming up the spine, neck, and shoulders.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

How to do it? 

You must perform this posture on empty stomach. You should ensure that you do not eat anything a few hours before performing setu bandhasana. It is better to perform this asana in the morning, but you can perform it in the evening too. Have a glance through the procedure of setu bandhasana.2 

  • Choose a well-ventilated room that receives an ample amount of light.  
  • Place a carpet or yoga mat on the floor where you wish to practice the asana.  
  • You can even play some soothing background music if you wish. 
  • Lay flat on your back to begin performing the bridge pose. 
  • Now, spread your feet apart and bend your knees. You should keep your feet as wide apart as your hips and ensure that your knees and ankles are in a straight line. 
  • Place both your arms beside your body with palms facing downwards. 
  • Next, breathe in and slowly lift your lower, middle and upper back off the floor. Make sure that your chin touches your chest as you roll your shoulders inwards.  
  • You should allow your shoulders, arms and feet to support your weight. 
  • Tighten your buttocks to make them firm while ensuring that your thighs are parallel to the floor and each other. 
  • You will need to interlock your fingers and push your hands hard to the ground so that you can lift your upper body even higher. 
  • Finally, breathe out and release the pose. Repeat the pose a few more times, as per your yoga teacher’s instructions.1,2 

You should perform this asana under only the supervision of a trained yoga professional. Kindly consult a doctor before performing setu bandhasana and ensure that you are physically fit to perform this asana, especially if you have any medical condition. 

After practising Setu Bandhasana, you must cool down in certain asanas like Pavanmuktasana, Anand Balasana and Supt Bhadrasana. These asanas will help to restore balance in the body and relax the spine.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Do You Know? 

Let’s shed light on some interesting facts about setu bandhasana: 

Some people believe setu bandhasana to be a modern pose because its mention was not found in the classic yoga texts. However, it might have been called by a different name before as seen in the following: 

  • In the 19th century, Sritattvanidhi, who was an iconic yogi of South India, mentioned this posture as Kamapidasana. 
  • Another yogi, Sri Krishnamacharya stated in his book (Yoga Makaranta) that setu bandhasana was formerly referred to as Uttana Mayurasana (intense peacock pose) in a classic yoga text, Yoga Kurantam. 

Therefore, setu bandhasana is a new name to an already known pose. 

Also Read: Benefits of Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht

Benefits of Setu Bandhasana: 

Setu bandhasana or the bridge stretches most of the body due to which it might have many benefits.2 Some of the benefits are as follows: 

1. Benefits of setu bandhasana for pain relief  

Setu bandhasana causes the spine to move backward and stretches it correctly. Thus, it might help relieve mild backaches in certain cases, but you should consult a doctor if you have a severe backache. It might also help relieve the accumulated stress in the neck. Therefore, it might help relieve mild pain in the neck and back. However, these effects need to be explored by further research. Kindly consult your doctor if you have back or neck pain, slip disc, spondylitis, and vertigo and confirm if you can perform this asana under the guidance of an expert yoga trainer.2 

2. Benefits of setu bandhasana for strengthening muscles 

The muscle of the back of the neck, hip, flexor muscles and thighs are stretched while performing setu bandhasana. Thus, it may help in strengthening these muscles. It might also help strengthen the muscles of the buttocks. In addition, it is also believed to be good for strengthening weak and tired legs. However, these effects are yet to be proved by further research.2 

3. Benefits of setu bandhasana for asthma and sinusitis 

It may open up the chest which might further help in increasing the lung capacity. This might help people with asthma as it may relieve the symptoms of asthma. In addition, it might also help relieve sinusitis by allowing blood to flow to the head. However, more research is required to prove the effect of this asana on asthma. Kindly consult your doctor if you have asthma and follow their medical advice. You should not depend on asanas alone for your medical problems.2,3  

4. Benefits of setu bandhasana for tennis elbow 

Tennis elbow is a condition in which you might experience pain and restricted movement in the elbow due to repetitive motion of the arm and the wrist, commonly seen in tennis players. You might have it even if you don’t play tennis. Setu bandhasana might help relieve the elbow pain in this condition. This might be due to stretching of the elbow muscles when you raise your back while holding your ankles or exert pressure on the floor in this exercise. However, you should perform this pose under the guidance of an expert yoga teacher after consulting your doctor, if you have a tennis elbow.2 

5. Benefits of setu bandhasana for thyroid  

The posture of setu bandhasana causes a backward movement of the spine while massaging the neck and the thyroid gland situated in it appropriately. Thus, it might help regulate the functions of the thyroid gland and may help produce more of the hormone thyroxine. Therefore, this asana might be helpful for people who are deficient in the thyroid hormone (thyroxine). However, you should consult your doctor if you have problems related to the thyroid gland and not rely solely on yoga asanas.2 

6. Benefits of setu bandhasana for the mind 

An inversion is an exercise in which the heart is comparatively higher than the head, causing blood to flow to the head. Setu bandhasana is considered a mild inversion, but it might be able to provide all the benefits of a complete inversion. It might help reduce stress, anxiety, mild depression, fatigue, insomnia and headaches by allowing blood to flow to the head. As this asana causes the spine to stretch, it might also help make the spine flexible and may be good for the health of nerves. Thus, it might also help in the proper coordination of the mind and body. However, you should consult your psychiatrist if you are facing any mental health issues like anxiety, depression, etc.2   

7. Benefits of setu bandhasana for digestion 

The bridge pose might benefit your health by helping in digestion. As mentioned, the setu bandhasana causes many parts of the body to stretch suitably. It might also massage the organs in your abdomen, i.e, the stomach, colon (the lower part of intestine), etc. However, more research is required to prove the effects of setu bandhasana on digestion. Therefore, kindly consult a doctor for digestive issues.2 

8. Other benefits of setu bandhasana  

Along with the above-stated potential benefits of setu bandhasana, it might also be helpful for the following: 

  • It might be helpful for those who are suffering from osteoporosis as it might help in better blood circulation. 
  • It might ease out menopause symptoms which is the complete stoppage of the menstrual cycle in middle-aged women. This might be due to stretching of the various muscles of the lower body. 
  • It might also have a positive effect on the nervous system as it causes a stretch in the spine.   
  • It might help lower blood pressure and normalise it as may decrease stress and stretch the muscles.2 

However, the above-stated effects need to be explored further by more research. 

Yoga practice may help develop the mind and body; however, it is still not an alternative to modern medicine. You must not rely on yoga alone to treat any condition. Please consult a qualified doctor who will be able to assess your condition correctly and advise accordingly. Moreover, it is necessary to practice and learn yoga under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher to avoid any injuries.  

Also Read: Benefits of Makarasana (Crocodile Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

Risks of Setu Bandhasana 

As every exercise might have risks, so does setu bandhasana. We must consider them carefully and follow experts’ advice. Some of the risks of setu bandhasana are as follows: 

  • Setu bandhasana might be risky for pregnant women to perform. Therefore, it is advised that you consult your doctor and only perform it under the guidance and supervision of a yoga expert. 
  • People who have neck injuries might be at risk of injuring their neck further if they perform the bridge pose incorrectly. So, they must either completely avoid this exercise or must perform it under strict supervision. Additionally, people with severe neck pain, spondylitis, etc. should consult a doctor before practising it.  
  • If you have back pain, performing setu bandhasana incorrectly might worsen it. Kindly consult a doctor and confirm if you are physically fit to perform this asana.2   

With the guidance of a qualified and experienced yoga teacher/yoga expert, we can access and analyse the risk factors and continue to practice exercise with precautions.  

Also Read: Why Does My Elbow Hurt: A Deep Dive into Possible Causes and Remedies

Conclusion  

Setu bandhasana is also called setu bandha sarvangasana or the bridge pose. In this posture, the back, thighs, spine, neck, etc. are stretched which might be beneficial against various health conditions. To perform this asana, you may lay on your back on the ground, bend your knees, keep your ankles and feet straight and hip-width apart then raise your upper body. The body is supported by the arms, shoulders and feet. Kindly ensure that you perform this pose under the guidance and supervision of a trained yoga professional. This asana might be helpful against asthma, thyroid problems, back pain, neck pain, etc. However, pregnant women and people with severe back and neck pain might be at risk while performing the bridge pose. Therefore, you should consult your doctor before practicing this exercise.  

Also Read: Benefits of Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana) and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the benefits of setu bandhasana? 

Setu bandhasana might help against thyroid problems, tennis elbow, certain back and neck pain, stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, etc. However, more research is required. You should consult a doctor for the above stated problems.2,3 

What are the bridge pose benefits for asthma patients? 

The bridge pose or setu bandhasana might help open up the chest and increase the lung capacity. Thus, it might be helpful against asthma. However, kindly consult your doctor if you have asthma.2,3 

Can bridge pose be performed if I have spondylitis? 

Kindly consult a doctor or a yoga expert if you can practice the bridge pose if you have spondylitis.

Is bridge pose safe for pregnant women? 

Pregnant women are at risk and should only perform setu bandhasana after consulting their doctor and under the guidance of a trained yoga professional.2 

Are there any setu bandhasana benefits for thyroid problems? 

Setu bandhasana might help massage the neck and the thyroid gland. It might also help in regulating the functions of thyroid gland. Thus, it might be helpful against thyroid problems.2 

References: 

  1. Dr. Nagendra HR, Dr. Selvamurthy W, Prof. Dr. Patwardhan AR, Dr. Frawley D; Understanding the body anatomy through yogasanas: Yoga Vijnana – The Science and Art of Yoga. 2021, Oct-Mar; 1(2): 47-59. Available from: https://yoga.ayush.gov.in/Publications/gallery/JOURNAL/Yoga%20Vijnana%20Vol.%202.pdf  
  1. Dr. Gangwal J, Dr. Kholiya S, Dr. Kumawat N, Dr. Bhatnagar V; Significance of setu bandha sarvangasana in healthy life; Inter Jour of Trend in Sci Rese and Dev (ijtsrd); 2020 June; 4(4); pp.40-42; ISSN: 2456-6470. Available from: https://www.ijtsrd.com/papers/ijtsrd30896.pdf  
  1. Vagh MG. Influence of yogic breathing on Asthma: The respiratory disorder. Available from: https://www.theyogicjournal.com/pdf/2019/vol4issue1/PartU/5-1-6-638.pdf  

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