Build Bridges, not Walls

While we practice our yoga we are constantly working to understand the intricacies of the postures. We fumble and try again.  We work on building a connection between the outer-worldly life and a relationship with our inner-life.  Especially lately, we need to work on spanning the gaps.  During this crisis, the outer world is even more uncertain, and distracting with worries and concern. While the inner world is even more elusive.

This practice works on Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, the bridge pose.  Let’s dedicate this practice to finding a better way to connect the gap between our outer and inner lives, and between ourselves and others.

Setu means bridge and Bandha is to build or construct something.  So it’s not just posing as a bridge but to be the civil engineer – the one that designs it and the construction crew that creates it. And finally, the traveler who enjoys the path connecting the two sides.  When practicing we should often try on different roles like the designer, the maker, and the one that appreciates the end product.  As we change the roles we enact we reveal all kinds of new information about the poses we do.

This sequence is mostly preparing for the final pose.  Like many things more time is spent in preparation than the end product. The sequence is divided up into sections so students of all levels can work on it. Edit out poses you are not sure about, add in others you may feel fit in well. Ultimately Setu Bandha is a more advanced pose where the practitioner is in and independent shoulder stand and then drops back to the bridge pose.  But this stage of the pose requires being adept in shoulderstand and having the confidence to drop over backward. 

7 Replies to “Build Bridges, not Walls”

  1. Leah, Thanks for the comment. I also like doing the same sequence sometimes many days in a row. It helps me listen and notice new things hidden in the act if trying again.

  2. I have started my last two mornings getting up at 5:30 with this sequence. The second morning I woke with excitement to try again. I am looking forward to this weekend when I will have the time to do more repetitions and settle into the poses more. I had forgotten how much my body (especially my pelvic girdle) loves the cross bolster Setu Bandha. Thank you Laurie.

  3. Thanks, Laurie! This careful preparation gave me the confidence to drop back. One side, then kick back up, the other side, kick back up again, and finally both feet together. (But I didn’t manage the kick back up part that last time after both feet together.) As you know, it’s taken me many years to work up to this. And I really liked Setu Bandha on the block afterwards.


  4. From the beginning I practiced this sequence from Setu Bandha perspective as Laurie suggested. When after inversions I settled down for Setu Bandha on blocks, I noticed that today it was less physical but more phycological Setu Bandha. I could stay there forever observing mind-clearing and senses-calming effect. Thanks for the journey, Laurie!

  5. Hi Anne, So hard work for your legs but still soothing mentally! That’s a good sign. I’ve been spending more time lately with chair viparita dandasana, and tied legs – daily actually, that’s one I don’t ever miss. Holding the legs together gets easier.

  6. I have really been finding brick setu bandha very soothing mentally. I am also working with keeping my legs together which is very hard for me.

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