Life can also race around us like rising water, and often we lose the time and freedom to stop, take a moment and ponder the day.
This month our asana is known as the bridge – Setu bandha sarvanasana. I am hoping that you can build this bridge into your life and use it as a support, not only for the physical benefits it bestows but also as an opportunity to take time out to reflect on the ‘footprint’ you are leaving in this world of ours.
This little miracle maker is a backbend that strengthens the legs and hips, massages the spine, and opens the heart. In the process, the mind is calmed and the body becomes energised, feeling revitalised and refreshed.
The best part I find when practising this posture is the amazing release of dullness that is lifted from the base of the spine. The bridge also:
Stretches the chest, neck, and spine
Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression
Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid
Rejuvenates tired legs
Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
Relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported
Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache and insomnia
Is therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and sinusitis
If the above is not enough to have you down on the floor trying this asana out immediately, perhaps some wise words from famous yogi B.K.S Iyengar will help.
He said, “A healthy and flexible spine indicates a healthy nervous system. If the nerves are healthy a man is sound in mind and body.”
Here are the steps involved:
1. Lie flat on your back on the floor and if necessary place a folded blanket under your shoulders to protect your neck. Bend your knees and set your feet on the floor, heels as close to the sitting bones as possible.
2. Exhale and press your feet and arms downward into the floor, push your tail bone upward toward the pelvis, but keep the bottom relaxed and lift the bottom off the floor. Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel. Interlock your fingers below your pelvis and extend through the arms and chest to help you stay on the tops of your shoulders (photo one).
3 Lift your bottom until the thighs are about parallel to the floor. Keep your knees directly over the heels but push them forward, away from the hips, and lengthen the tail bone toward the backs of the knees. Lift the pelvic bone toward the navel.
4. Lift your chest towards the chin, squeezing the shoulder blades together at the back. As the feet sink and the hips rise upwards bend your elbows and support your back with your hands (photo two). Firm the outer arms, broaden the shoulder blades and try to lift the space between them at the base of the neck and up into the torso.
5 If you are comfortable walk the legs further away from the bottom and rest the back onto the hands allowing the bottom to suspend (photo three).
6. Stay in the pose anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Release with an exhalation, rolling the spine slowly down onto the floor.
Happy stretching! See you next month
Kim White is the owner of Sala Samadhi. She offers authentic Hatha yoga instruction for private and group sessions. Contact: www.mindbodyyogasystem.com or 086276 9174.
The opinions and advice contained in this column are those of the author only. The Phuket News is not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any situation.