Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)

Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand
Level: Intermediate

Eka = one. Pada = a foot. Setu = bridge. Bandha = Lock or restraint. Sarva = whole, all, complete. Anga = limb.

If you are unable to bring the feet all the way to the floor, try dropping back to a chair, or take a blanket or two away. Alternately, for a very simple and accessible variation, come up from the floor with the feet on a chair.

Organizing the Pose

  1. Come into the pose from Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1).
  2. Bend the knees and drop the legs back behind you, reaching the thighs towards the knees and the feet towards the floor.
  3. Keep the hands high on the back.
  4. As you make the transition, widen and lift the back ribs towards the ceiling. Anchor the front of the armpits and the shoulders into the ground. Stretch the sides of the waist towards the head.
  5. Either stay there with the legs bent or walk the feet away from you until straight.
  6. Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds.
  7. Swing the legs back up and return to Sarvangasana.
  8. Repeat 2 to 3 times.
  9. Either continue on with other Halasana (Plough Pose) or Sarvangasana variations, or exhale and come down, using the arms to control yourself as you roll down through the back.
  10. Slide off the blankets towards the head until the shoulders come to the floor and the hips are raised on the blankets. Rest there for a few breaths.
  11. Roll over onto the right side and press yourself up.

Practice Points

  • Soften the buttocks and strengthen the inner thighs.
  • Lengthen the thighs towards the knees.
  • Lengthen the sides of the waist towards the head.
  • Widen and lift the back ribs.
  • Roll the back of the armpit up towards the ceiling and the front down towards the head.
  • Soften, widen and ground the tops of the shoulders
  • Broaden the collarbones.
  • Soften and widen the chest, neck and throat.