The Studio Durham House Blog | Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose — Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (SAY-too BAHN-duh shar-vahn-GAHS-uh-na) — is a beginning backbend that helps to open the chest and stretch the thighs. When you’re in the pose, your arms and legs create a “locked bridge” with your body. This pose can be used as preparation for deeper backbends or practiced with a block as a restorative pose.

Bridge Pose opens the chest, heart, and shoulders. It stretches the spine, the back of the neck, the thighs, and the hip flexors (front hip joints). Because your heart is higher than your head in this pose, it is considered a mild inversion (less strenuous than other inversions, such as Headstand) and holds all the benefits of inversions: Relief from stress, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, and mild depression.

Bridge Pose also calms the mind and is known to be therapeutic for individuals with high blood pressure. Because it opens the chest, it increases lung capacity, which is therapeutic for those with asthma.

Bridge Pose also stimulates the abdominal organs and thyroid glands, which improves digestion and helps to regulate metabolism. Because it revitalizes the legs and stretches the shoulders, it can be a particularly rejuvenating pose for those who spend the day sitting in front of a computer or driving.

Do not perform this pose if you have a neck or shoulder injury. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.

Instructions

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend your arms along the floor, palms flat.
  • Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor. Exhale as you lift your hips toward the ceiling.
  • Draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone, holding your buttocks off the floor. Do not squeeze your glutes or flex your buttocks.
  • Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body. Clasp your hands and extend your arms along the floor beneath your pelvis. Straighten your arms as much as possible, pressing your forearms into the mat. Reach your knuckles toward your heels.
  • Keep your thighs and feet parallel — do not roll to the outer edges of your feet or let your knees drop together. Press your weight evenly across all four corners of both feet. Lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your knees.
  • Hold for up to one minute. To release, unclasp your hands and place them palms-down alongside your body. Exhale as you slowly roll your spine along the floor, vertebra by vertebra. Allow your knees to drop together.

If you’re having trouble keeping your hips lifted or to create a restorative version of the pose, place a block or bolster under your sacrum — the spot on your lower back directly above your tailbone — to support your pelvis. Allow your weight to rest on the block.

If your shoulders are very tight, keep your hands alongside the body with your palms pressing into the mat rather than clasping your hands beneath your torso.

When you are in the full version of the pose, do not force your shoulders away from your ears by tugging too hard or turn your head to the right or left when you’re in the pose. Doing so can cause neck injury.

Keep your shoulder blades drawn together as you extend your arms beneath your torso.

 To find out more about Yoga at the Studio Durham House Farnham, click here

The Studio Durham House Blog | Recipe of the month

About Pancake Day

Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

Lent – the 40 days leading up to Easter – was traditionally a time of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday,  Ango-Saxon Christians went to confession and were “shriven” (absolved from their sins). A bell would be rung to call people to confession. This came to be called the “Pancake Bell” and is still rung today.

Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year. This year Shrove Tuesday is 5th March.

Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast and pancakes are the perfect way of using up these ingredients.

The pancake has a very long history and has featured in cookery books as far back as 1439. The tradition of tossing or flipping them is almost as old: “And every man and maide doe take their turne, And tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne” (Pasquil’s Palin, 1619).

The ingredients for pancakes can be seen to symbolise four points of significance at this time of year:

Eggs ~ Creation
Flour ~ The staff of life
Salt ~ Wholesomeness
Milk ~ Purity

For some interesting alternatives, check out some of our versions below.

Banana Pancakes

Prep: 5 mins, Cook: 5 mins, Makes: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large banana
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • Pinch of baking powder (gluten free if coeliac)
  • Splash of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp oil

Preparation

  • In a bowl, mash 1 large banana with a fork
  • until it resembles a thick purée.
  • Stir in 2 beaten eggs, baking powder and
  • vanilla extract.
Vegan Pancakes

Prep: 5 mins, Cook: 25 mins with resting, Makes: 6 small pancakes

Ingredients

  • 125g gluten free plain flour
  • egg replacer equivalent to 1 egg
  • 250ml dairy free milk

Preparation

  • Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the egg replacer and a quarter of the milk.
  • Use an electric whisk to thoroughly combine the mixture, then beat in another quarter of the milk. Once lump free, pour
    in the remaining milk.
  • Leave to rest for 20 minutes.
  • Stir again before using.
Spinach Protein Pancakes

Prep:15 mins, Cook: 20 mins, Makes: 12

Ingredients

  • 284ml pot of buttermik
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 poached eggs per person to serve (optional)
  • 200g spinach
  • 175g buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of paprika

Preparation

  • Boil the kettle and put the buttermilk and beaten egg in a food processor.
  • Put the spinach in a colander and pour over boiling water to wilt. Squeeze out any excess water, add to the processor and blitz to a smooth purée.
  • Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and gradually mix in the purée.
Dairy Free Pancakes

Prep: 5 mins, Cook: 25 mins with resting, Makes: 8 small pancakes

Ingredients

  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 300ml dairy free milk

Preparation

  • Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack the egg in the middle and pour in a quarter of the milk.
  • Use an electric or balloon whisk to thoroughly combine the mixture. Once you
    have a paste, mix in another quarter of milk. Once lump free, mix in the remaining milk.
  • Leave to rest for 20 minutes. Stir again before using.