Bridge Pose

Tracey Kelley
Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose, or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, is a restorative backbend that is accessible to beginners but offers much to more experienced practitioners.

About Bridge Pose

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana breaks out this way: "setu" is bridge or dam; and "bandha" is lock.

This asana, a great stretch for the back, chest and legs, has many other benefits, including:

  • Reduced stress
  • Stimulation of the thyroid, lungs, and abdominals
  • Improved digestion

Do not perform Bridge Pose if you have severe shoulder or neck problems.

Step into the Pose

To Perform Bridge Pose

  1. Begin in Corpse or Relaxation Pose. Use a rolled blanket or pillow behind your neck, if necessary.
  2. On an exhale, push your tailbone up with your feet and inner thighs. Tighten the buttocks.
  3. Check to make sure your knees are over the heels as you extend upward. You should not feel pressure on your neck.
  4. Following the breath, roll your shoulders under, chin against the sternum, head flat on the floor.
  5. Leave your arms at your sides, clasp them under your back without putting pressure on the neck, or reach for your ankles.
  6. Hold the pose for 30 seconds or more, then release. You can also achieve the pose, release after 30 seconds, then move into the pose two more times on that cycle.

It is highly recommended to first perform this pose under the direction of a certified instructor. For more details, visit Yoga Journal.

Even though this woman is looking at the camera, never turn your head in Bridge Pose.

Beginner

Don't feel pressure to push up higher than is comfortable. Move your arms under you as you build experience.

Advanced

Lift your heels and move them closer to the tailbone.

Bridge Pose