Bridge Pose - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Bridge Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska


Bridge pose, also known as Setu Bandhasana or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana in Sanskrit (‘setu’ means ‘bridge’, ‘bandha’ means ‘bind’ or ‘lock’, ‘sarvanga’ means ‘all limbs’ or ‘the whole body’, and ‘asana’ means ‘pose’), is a yoga pose that strengthens the legs, hips, and back muscles, as well as opens up the chest and shoulders.

Here in Setu Bandhasana the entire spine is so beautifully curved and away from the floor/mat, which looks like a bridge. This asana is rather multifaceted. It combines the elements of a backbend, inversion, supine neck flexion, and a heart opener. Simultaneously, it brings focus to the lower body, strengthening ankles, thighs, glutes, and hips. Additionally, it stretches and tones the abdominal muscles, which in turn results in a more stable core and improved digestion. Considering the plethora of benefits it provides, it would be a wise choice to include it in your daily practice.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is a beginner-level backbending yoga pose. It is considered a base pose as bridge pose variations can be derived from this pose. Bridge Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in different yoga sequences.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Lie down on your back with your knees bent directly above your ankles. Place the soles of your feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms alongside your body, palms facing down.
Step 2
As you exhale, press firmly into your feet, evenly distributing your weight. Lift your hips towards the sky. *Modification: For a more passive variation, you can place a block, positioned lengthwise, underneath your sacrum.
Step 3
Roll your shoulders gently underneath your body, keeping your arms extended. Clasp your hands together. You can wiggle back and forth on the blades of your shoulders to draw them further down your back, away from your neck. Press your forearms into the ground while bringing the palms of your hands together. Extend your knuckles and tailbone towards your heels.
Step 4
Maintain a long spine and ensure that your neck is aligned with the rest of your spine. Keep your gaze directed upwards.
Step 5
Keep your thighs and knees parallel to each other. Allow your inner thighs to gently rotate towards the ground. Continue pressing your legs into the earth, energetically drawing your tailbone towards your heels to support your spine.
Step 6
To release the pose, exhale and gently lower your hips back down to the ground. Walk your feet apart to hip-width distance and let your knees come together.

Benefits and Contraindications


Stretches the chest, neck, and spine

Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid

Rejuvenates tired legs

Improves digestion

Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia

Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression

Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis

Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause

Relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported


Neck injury: avoid this pose unless you are practicing under the supervision of an experienced teacher.

Women who are pregnant should avoid this as a lot of pressure is put to the lower abdomen and the internal organs thus making breathing difficult which can be harmful for the fetus.

Weak stomach or intestine

Injured back or a sore back

Knee replacement or if the stage of osteoporosis is severe

Photo poses in different angles

Modifications and Props

Even though Bridge Pose is a beginner-level pose sometimes it can be challenging to perform it due to some health conditions or the practitioner’s level of training. Props will come in handy here. Here are some modifications of this pose with props you can try:

  • Block under the sacrum: Place a yoga block under your sacrum (the bony area at the base of the spine) to provide support and lift. This modification can be helpful for those with tight hips or lower back pain. Choose the height of the block according to your comfort level.
  • Strap around the thighs: Wrap a yoga strap around your thighs above the knees to keep them parallel and prevent them from splaying outwards. This modification can be helpful for those with a tendency to turn out their thighs or who experience discomfort in their knees.
  • Rolled blanket or bolster under the neck: Place a rolled blanket or a bolster under your neck to support the cervical spine and avoid any discomfort in the neck. This modification can be helpful for those with neck pain or discomfort.
  • Feet on a wall: Place your feet on a wall with your knees bent to 90 degrees, and then lift your hips up into the bridge pose. This modification can be helpful for those with tight hamstrings or for those who are not able to lift their hips off the ground comfortably.
  • One-legged bridge pose: Lift one leg up towards the ceiling, keeping the knee bent. This modification can help to deepen the stretch in the hip flexors and hamstrings of the lifted leg.

Useful Tips

  • Take your time working on lifting up into Bridge with control. You might like to practise coming in and out of the pose a few times first before holding the pose for a few breaths.
  • Pay close attention to your knees, don’t allow them to fall out wider than your feet as you rise upwards. If you find this happens you can squeeze a yoga block between your thighs as you come up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can beginners do Setu Bandha Sarvangasana?

Yes, beginners can do Bridge Pose, but it is important to start with modifications and gradually work up to the full pose as your strength and flexibility improve.

What muscles does Setu Bandha Sarvangasana work?

Bridge Pose works the glutes, hamstrings, back muscles, and core muscles.

How long should I hold Setu Bandha Sarvangasana?

You can hold Bridge Pose for 5-10 breaths or longer, depending on your level of comfort and experience.

Is Setu Bandha Sarvangasana safe during pregnancy?

It is best to consult with a doctor or a prenatal yoga teacher before practicing Bridge Pose or any other yoga pose during pregnancy.

What should I do if I feel pain or discomfort in Setu Bandha Sarvangasana?

If you feel pain or discomfort in Bridge Pose, come out of the pose and rest. You can also try modifying the pose or seek guidance from a yoga teacher. It is important to listen to your body and avoid pushing beyond your limits.

Can Setu Bandha Sarvangasana help with back pain?

Yes, Bridge Pose can help improve posture and strengthen the back muscles, which can help alleviate back pain. However, it is important to practice the pose safely and within your limi


  • One-Legged Bridge
  • One Legged Bridge Pose Block Under Sacrum
  • Bridge Pose Variation Elbows
  • Bridge Pose Variation Toes
  • Bridge with a yoga wheel
  • Wheel Pose
  • Bridge Pose Variation with block
  • Bridge Pose Block Chair

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Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings. After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva. To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics. Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga. At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.