Yoga for Insomnia Series: Setu bandha (Bridge pose). Iyengar Yoga for Beginners.


“Hi, I’m Lin,” “And I’m Leo. Welcome back
to our channel, ‘Yoga with Lin and Leo’.” “And today we have a wonderful, restorative
practice for you, Setu Bandha. You can see here that we have two bolsters. These are
cross bolsters, but you can also use two foam blocks, for the horizontal action underneath,
if you’ve only got the one bolster.” “Shall I just show?” “Yep,” [Laughter] “I’ll show,
I’ll show! Alright, so if you’ve only got one bolster and you’ve got four foam pads
– you can do that instead.” “Yeah, this would be absolutely fine. But being that we have
got two bolsters, we’re going to put them in this cross ways position and Leo’s going
to sit right at the end of the bolster to start with. And then make sure you are extending
your tailbone towards your heel side. So don’t get stuck in the lower back, it’s really important
that that is active and extended. And then coming back into the action, keeping the chest
nicely open, but also being aware that the support comes from the centre of direction,
so the abdomen needs to be supporting your spine. So it’s not a big grip on the abdominal
area; it’s a softening to support the spine. You see here that Leo’s got her fingers up
in the air to really push down into the floor to get the chest even more open. And also
the shoulders are down. Now if you have a real problem with your shoulders, and the
shoulders don’t go down, you can always place a folded blanket underneath the shoulders.
We’ve put a couple of foam blocks at the end here just so that we can encourage that experience
of extension throughout the legs. And again, if you do find that you need to go a little
bit higher on the leg side, if there’s any pinching in the lower back, then create that
length of the tailbone, and maybe take another foam block underneath the heels. But this
is quite a nice position, you can see here. Now the arms, relax and release. So you roll
the arms out to the side when you’re in this position. Because it’s on a soft cushioning,
therefore, it’s more restorative. Setu Bandha is the Bridge Pose and in our classic practice
then we use our hands underneath our back so that we can raise the shoulders and extend
in that way. So that’s quite a strong action. This way, it’s all about settling the nervous
system and releasing. So when you’re in this position, because of the sheer shape of the
pose, the opening of the chest, then we know to observe our breath. And when you’re observing
the breath, the breath comes in a vertical direction, it extends in a horizontal extension.
And that’s really where we need to be taking our concentration; into that horizontal direction.
So take your attention into your back ribs and just be aware when you breathe, you encourage
those intercostal muscles, all those little muscles between the ribs, to extend from the
spine to the outer edges. And gradually, gradually, gradually, letting the
nervous system completely release and soften. And then we can go through the pose, starting
to release, particularly in the facial features. So let the forehead completely dissolve. Soften
around the temples, release the back teeth, soften the throat and let a heaviness come
in the outer shoulders. So the outer shoulders are finding their place. They’re rooting down
towards the floor. And now, we can observe again, coming back to that soft inhalation
and exhalation. So really take yourself deep inside and observe your breath. And just watch
how the ribs expand and broaden to the outer edges and then completely release and soften.
And then of course we start the process all over again. So it’s soft breath. And this
is a wonderful pose to just calm the nerves. Introducing the breath, becoming aware of
the breath. You can stay in this pose for anything between five and fifteen minutes
quite easily. You can set your timer, and continue to be in this pose. So we don’t want
to disrupt you now. We are going to come out of this pose, but you can stay in it. Just
observing your breath and just letting the whole body release. And when you come out
of it eventually, then just roll yourself to the right side. And just keeping that quietness
completely; in the body, in the mind, in your breath.” “So that was very nice. [Laughter].
We hope you enjoyed doing Setu Bandha with us today and this is a very good pose for
doing in the evenings if you suffer from insomnia, if you’d like to soothe your nervous system
before bedtime.” “Absolutely, and any other time that you need a little bit of a burst
of energy, just calm the nerves and it’s very beneficial.” “We look forward to seeing you
again next time. Namaste.” “Namaste.”