Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

{Bridge Pose)

When you work with a partner in Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, you miqht find you can lift your chest a little bit more. The receivinq partner places a strap across the width of the mat and lies down so that the strap touches the upper back. The helpinq partner sits a few inches from the top of the receiving partner's head, takes hold of the ends of the strap, and places the feet against the tops of the receiving partner's shoulders.

The receiving partner comes into the pose. The strap should now be in the crease of the armpits, and the ends should be parallel to the floor. If you are the helping partner, press gently down through your feet to keep your partner's upper arm bones down. Lift your own chest (be careful not to round your back) and pull the ends of the Strap toward you, not up toward the ceiling.

If you are the receiving partner, make sure you are drawing the buttock flesh away from the lower back as the chest is opening, being mindful of any sensation of compression in the lower back. Keep your weight on the ball of your big toe and keep your knees aligned with your hip sockets.

The helping partner pulls for 20 to 30 seconds and then slowly releases the strap. Notice If the receiving partner can maintain the new height of the chest. After a few breaths, the receiving partner slowly releases to the floor, lengthening the lower back. Switch positions.

a fully realized human being... so why am I thinking about toenails? But perhaps the biggest reason students and teachers avoid partnering exercises in class, particularly with beginning students, is a concern for safety. "I have a friend who was injured doing partner exercises. I've had that fear: This is a student, not a trained teacher— do they know how to support me?" says Sarah Saffian, a writer and yoga student in Brooklyn. Another downside tO partnering, for some, is that it interrupts the flow of the class. "Sometimes, in the context of an hour-and-a-halfclass, partner work doesn't seem to provide enough benefit compared with the amount of time it takes to explain and to take turns helping one another," saysMichele King, a yoga student in San Francisco. Not only docs partnering interrupt the physical practice, it can also interrupt the deep concentration you drop into during class. "I go to yoga for an internal experience, and partnering exercises are disruptive of that," Saffian says. "They take me out of my little world on that mat."

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