The Bridge Pose

(Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Level: Easy

Benefits: Strengthens lower back and thighs, tones buttocks, prepares body for deeper backbends. Cautions: Weak knees, neck injuries.

How To

bridge
Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3
  1. Laying comfortably on your back, bend your knees, and bring your feet close to your buttocks. The knees and feet should be in line with your inner hip bones. Have your arms beside you. Relax.
  2. Press the arms and feet into the floor and as you gently contract the buttocks. inhale and raise the hips as high as is comfortable.
  3. Draw the chest toward the chin and feel the lungs and chest expanding.(Fig. 1)
  4. Make sure the feet stay parallel.
  5. As you exhale slowly lower the upper, middle and then lower back.
  6. Rest, then repeat x 5
  7. As you become stronger you can hold the pose for a count of 5-10 breaths before lowering.
Modifications
  • If your knees hurt as you lift up – try placing your feet further away from your buttocks.
  • If you have back problems – try placing a block under the sacrum and rest your weight on it for a few breaths. (Fig. 2)
  • If you have neck problems – try placing a blanket under your shoulders for support.
To Deepen
  • To strengthen the lower back, place a block between the thighs and press the thighs into it.
  • To lift higher into the pose interlink your hands under your back and gently draw shoulders inwards as you lift your chest..
  • To add to the strengthening effect in the back and thighs, draw one knee into chest and then extend the leg to the ceiling, hold for five breaths and repeat on the other side. (Fig. 3)