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A R D H A - S E T U - B A N D H A S A N A
Etymologically, Ardha-Setu-Bandhasana is the half pose of the bridge, as Ardha means half, Setu means bridge and Bandha means contraction, tension.
HOW TO DO IT
THE STARTING POSITION
The starting position of this asana is Sarvangasana. The beginners may even start from lying on the floor.
THE FIRST STAGE
Start from Sarvangasana, place your hands on the waist, the thumbs towards the exterior side of the trunk. This pose is known as Viparita Karani Mudra. In Sarvangasana, the hands are placed to support the trunk perpendicularly on the floor. At this point, the body is supported on the palms and the four remaining fingers, not on the thumbs.
If in Ardha-Setu-Bandhasana the hands are not properly situated, the descending movement of the lower part of the body will be impossible to control.
THE SECOND STAGE
Bend the right knee and bring the knee close to the body; this leg will act as a counter-weight during the descending movement.
THE THIRD STAGE
Lower the left leg to the floor, gradually, inch after inch. In the beginning, we may lose control and fall on the floor, but we need to keep trying and practicing until we succeed. In time, we will be able to control the descending movement.
The simple bridge - SETU ASANA In order to create the bridge is enough to bring the right leg next to the left, with the sole on the floor. In this position, breathe deeply and slowly for about half a minute. We are now in SETU ASANA
In the order of asanas, this pose comes right after Sarvangasana. This exercise requires a little time for execution, and this is why it is easy to integrate in the daily practice.
The bridge in harmonious tension - A variant of SETU-BANDHASANA
The harmonious tension can be created from the very beginning or it can be installed after we breathed for half a minute as indicated above. To perform this asana we need to push the legs away from the trunk, towards the front, keeping the soles on the floor during this entire time. So, the harmonious tension implies that the feet are pushed forward, away from the trunk.
The soles need to be completely in touch with the floor. We continue to breathe as slowly as we can, without forcing us in any way. In the beginning, the breath will tend to accelerate, due to the intensity of this asana.
CAUTION! For this stretching, we may need to change the position of the hands again. Place them on the lumbar area, with the thumbs oriented towards the spine. Thus, the lumbar area benefits from the harmonious tension and the intense flexing.
THE VARIANT OF THE POSE WITH ONE LEG UP - ARDHA-SETU-BANDHASANA
One of the main purposes of this asana is to energize intensely the lumbar area. In the variant "The simple bridge", the tension is bearable. In the variant "The bridge in harmonious tension", it is very much accentuated.
Being in "The bridge in harmonious tension" pose raise one leg up, stretching the sole, just as a ballerina. This harmonious contraction compresses the deep veins of the feet and activates the circulation.
Once we reached this position, breathe slowly ten times, and then bring slowly the leg on the floor. Repeat with the other leg.
Finally, come on the floor with the whole body and rest for three minutes, perceiving the beneficial effects of this asana. The lifted leg will amplify even more the activation of the lumbar area. All the muscles of this leg are contracted.
One execution of this asana, followed by the perception of the subtle effects is enough.
The most common mistake is the wrong positioning of the hands on the waist. If we place them too far from the pelvis, and if the wrists are not supple, we may experience some pains in the palms and fingers.
This asana is forbidden to the persons suffering from lumbar lordosis.
This asana improves the suppleness and flexibility of the spine and eases the practice of other poses, such as Chakrasana.
From a medical point of view, it acts efficiently on the parasympathetic nervous system from the sacral area. The vegetative activity of the body is regulated through the complementary action of the sympathetic system, which spreads along the spine, on one side, and along the parasympathetic system on the other side. The parasympathetic system ensures the control of the genital and urinary organs.
Ardha-Setu-Bandhasana acts powerfully on this part of the parasympathetic. It brings and preserves the health and good function of these organs that are very important, not only from a sexual point of view, but also from a hormonal one.
Indirectly, through the beneficial and harmonious stimulation of the secretion of sexual hormones, this pose acts on the entire body, and this is why this asana is unique in terms of regeneration and rejuvenation of the body.
This stimulation is psychosomatic and not chemical or artificial and does not risk causing over-excitation or an excess of hormonal secretion. After we reach the optimal functioning, the balance is preserved with its help.