Basic yogasanas (part 10) (yoga for stretching and balancing)
Setu Bandhasana and Urdhva-mukha Svanasana
Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
Because your body takes up the shape of a bridge while performing this yogasana, therefore it is called setu (bridge) bandha (lock) asana (pose) or the Bridge pose. This yoga pose helps to relax the entire body while stretching the upper body.
Way to execute:
- Lie down on your back.
- Breathe in and bend your knees upwards. Set your feet on the floor at hip distance apart on the floor. Keep a distance of 10-12 inches from your pelvis and feet.
- With your arms beside your body, exhale and then inhale deeply lifting your lower back, middle back and upper back off the floor. Bring your chest towards your chin without moving it.
- Make sure you support your weight on your shoulders, arms and feet and your bottom is firmly up in this pose. Your thighs should be parallel to each other and to the floor.
- If you easily can, clasp the ankles and push your torso up a little more, or simply support your back with your palms.
- Breathe normally while in this posture for a minute. Exhale and comfortably release the posture by bringing back your torso on the floor.
- Repeat the asana 3-5 times.
Benefits of Setu Bandhasana
- This asana strengthens the back muscles, chest and spine and also gives them a good stretch.
- It alleviates depression, calms the brain and also relieves fatigue instantaneously.
- Setu bandhasana improves digestion and also relieves the symptoms of menopause and menstrual pain.
- It is a simple asana that is beneficial for those suffering with asthma and other breathing problems.
Note: this asana should be avoided if you suffer with any kind of neck and back injuries
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (upward facing dog pose)
The upward facing dog pose known as Urdhva Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit is a yogasana that stretches every part of your body. This asana not only strengthens your spine, it also helps to attain a graceful posture.
Way to execute:
- Lie down on your stomach and make sure the tops of your feet touch the floor. Place your arms besides your body.
- Bend your elbows so that your forearms are perpendicular to the floor, with your palms spread on the floor.
- Breathe in and press into your hands, pushing the upper body off the floor.
- Slowly straighten your arms, lifting up your torso and your legs a few inches off the floor.
- Keep your thighs and arms firm and lengthen the top of your neck near the skull, reaching out through the top of your head but make sure your gaze is down your nose.
- Breathe normally while in the pose and release after 30 seconds or longer. Repeat 3 times.
Benefits of Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
- This asana is one of the best that helps improving posture.
- It not only expands your chest and shoulders, but also strengthens your spine, arms, wrists, and your low back muscles as well.
- Urdhva mukha svanasana stretches the hip flexors, chest, lungs and shoulders.
- It is helpful to relieve back pain, sciatica and depression too.
- This asana is therapeutic for those suffering with asthma.
Note: avoid practicing this asana if you suffer with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or tendonitis of the wrist or low back pain. Pregnant women should also avoid this asana.