Half Bridge Pose on a Block – Ardha Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Benefits: Bridge pose is a most effective preparation for Shoulderstand, because in Bridge, your chest and shoulders are in a similar position to that of Shoulderstand. Your chest and shoulders will learn to become open and stable, without the full weight of your body and legs overhead. Being a mild inversion, it will soothe and revitalise your mind and body. It is also a useful preparation for more advanced back bending, as it teaches your feet to become firmly rooted into the earth. This helps to strengthen the legs, as well as lengthen the quadriceps muscles.

Step by Step Instructions:

For this version of Bridge Pose you will need a block. Begin by
sitting in dandasana with your feet facing the narrow end of
the mat and the block near your left buttock.

Draw your feet in towards your buttocks. See that the outside edges of
your feet are parallel with the sides of the mat and bring the back
of your whole body to the floor. Feel length all the way from your
coccyx to the crown of your head.

With your left hand, take hold of the block, and as you lift your buttocks
away from the floor, place the block tall side up, so that it sits at
the base of your spine. Take your time to ensure it is in the right
place. Extend your arms along the floor. Interlace your fingers and
take a full deep inhalation and exhalation as you allow your feet,
hands and arms to ground into the floor.

Be here, breathing smoothly, whilst observing the following points:

  • Are your feet still pressing firmly into the floor?

  • Can you feel the balls of your feet just behind your big toes,
    strong and even against the floor? Attention to stability through
    your feet will activate your leg muscles.

  • Here, your front thighs remain parallel; do not let your knees splay
    outwards.

  • Have your abdomen soft and falling towards your spine.

  • Keep the outer tips of your shoulders against the floor.

Gaze towards your cheekbones, with your tongue relaxed down into your
lower palate. Soften your facial muscles; let go, deep within your throat.

Lifting up on to your toes, remove the block and lie back down. Keep your
legs bent and take your thighs in close to your abdomen, with your
hands resting on the tops of your shinbones.

Inhale as you roll up to sitting and move quietly back to dandasana.

Everything Else:

Level: 3
Props required: Blocks
Movement Type: Restorative
Sub Movement Type-A: Back Bend
Sub Movement Type-B: Shoulders
Main Anatomical Focus: Buttocks
Secondary Anatomical Focus: Shoulders
Physiological Focus: Circulatory System, Reproductive System, Respiratory System

Therapeutic Focus: Asthmatic Symptoms

Contraindications:Avoid this movement if you have a Lower Back injury, if you are menstruating, or if you are pregnant.

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