Bridge Pose

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana ( Bridge Pose)

Setubandhasana; setu=bridge, bandha=bind /lock. So as the name suggests the pose resembles a bridge. Here the entire spine is so beautifully curved and away from the floor/mat , which causes a bridge. As the effect of this pose is more to do with the spine , it sure works on toning the muscles around the spine. This pose can be categorised under the Intermediate Level of Asanas and under the lying down category. This pose cannot be described as just the raising of the spine and balancing it there half way in the air. This pose has a lot of scientific benefits to it when compared to other asanas. The alignment of the body right from the feet to the head should be understood well to ensure the maximum benefit of this pose. The flow of this pose is as follows.

Bridge Pose 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 flow yoga sequences.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Lie down on your back, knees bent and directly above your ankles. Soles of the feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms alongside your body with the palms facing down.
Step 2
On an exhale, press firmly into the feet and distribute the weight evenly throughout your feet. Lift your hips up towards the sky. *Modification: For a more passive version of this posture you can bring a block, the long way, underneath the sacrum.
Step 3
Gently roll the shoulders underneath your body, keep the arms extended and clasps your hands together. You can wiggle back and forth on the blades of your shoulders to get your shoulder to draw further down your back away from your neck. Press the forearms into the earth as you draw the palms of the hands together. Reach the knuckles and tailbone towards your heels.
Step 4
Keep the spine long and your neck in line with the spine. Your gaze is straight up.
Step 5
Keep the thighs and knees parallel to each other. Inner thighs gently spin towards the ground. Keep pressing into the earth with your legs and energetically draw the tailbone towards your heels to support your spine.
Step 6
To release, exhale and gently bring the hips back down to the earth. Walk the feet mat distance apart and knock the knees in towards one another.

Benefits and Contraindications

Benefits

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

Contraindications

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

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.
Modifications & Variations
  • Bridge Pose Blanket Chair Variation Feet Upright
  • One Legged Bridge Pose Block Under Sacrum
  • Bridge Pose Variation Elbows
  • Bridge Pose Variation Toes
  • Bridge Pose Variation Straight Legs At Wall
  • Supine Pelvic Tilt Tuck
  • Bridge Pose Variation Arms Out Block
  • Bridge Pose Sacrum Block
  • One Legged Bridge Pose Chair
  • Bridge Pose Block Chair
Top Previous Poses
  • Wind Release Pose
  • Boat Pose
  • Seated Forward Bend Pose
Top Follow-Up Poses
  • Wind Release Pose
  • Wheel Pose
  • One-Legged Bridge Pose

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

In love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. Iana has been actively practicing yoga for 5 years. In addition to practice, she studies various aspects of yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy, biomechanics, and holodynamics.