POSTURE BREAKDOWN: Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Pin now, practice Bridge Pose later!

Pin now, practice Bridge Pose later!

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Step-By-Step

  1. Start by laying on your back with your feet on the ground, knees bent towards the sky. 
  2. Relax your spine to the ground and lengthen your neck by tilting your chin down towards your chest.
  3. Keeping your feet on the ground, bring the heels of your feet back towards your hips so your fingertips can touch your heels.
  4. Keep your knees in line with your hips (they have a tendency to want to fall outward, consciously pull them in together towards each other)
  5. Press all four corners of your feet firmly into the ground. Pressing your inner arches down towards the ground will help keep your knees in line with your hips, or you can place a block in between your knees.
  6. Arms are straight and down by your side. Palms pressed into the ground for extra support.
  7. Take a deep inhale and on your exhale tilt your hips towards you bringing your navel to your spine. Pressing firmly into your feet slowly lift your hips up towards the sky.
  8. Hold for 5-8 breaths remembering to press firmly in all four corners of your feet, focusing on your inner arches to keep your knees in line with your hips, relaxing your glutes and lifting up from your hips, feeling your chest opening, keeping your neck relaxed and pressing your palms into the ground for extra support.
  9. After 5-8 breaths slowly lower your hips back down to the ground. 
  10. Bring your knees into your chest and give them a hug, rocking your knees from side to side, for a nice lower back release.

NOTE: Keep your neck straight and your gaze forward, do not look from side to side as you may strain your neck.

MODIFICATION: For a deeper heart opener, straighten your arms underneath your body (while your hips are lifted), clasping your wrists together, and rolling your shoulders back and under your body.

Benefits (Source: Yoga Journal)

  • Stretches the neck, chest and spine (great heart opener!)
  • Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs and thyroid
  • Energizes tired legs
  • Can improve digestion
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • A supported variation of this pose (aka place a block under your hips and rest your hips on it) helps relieve menstrual discomfort
  • This pose is considered a slight inversion (aka your heart is higher than your head) which calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression, reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia
  • Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis

Cautions

Be careful or avoid this pose if you have a sensitive neck or are healing a neck injury.

Prep Poses (do these before bridge pose)

Follow-Up Poses (do these after bridge pose)