Bridge Pose  -Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Step by step

  • Lying on your back, place your feet flat on the floor, a comfortable distance away from the hips
  • Place your arms next to the ribcage. You can either bend your elbows 90 degrees so that your fingers are pointing to the ceiling or hold onto the outer edges of your mat
  • On an inhalation, press the back of your shoulders and your feet into the floor and lift your hips up
  • Press the inner feet down actively and keep the knees from spreading out wide, by engaging the inner thighs
  • Lengthen your tailbone, slide your shoulder blades down your back and keep your neck neutral
  • You can clasp your hands behind your back
  • Stay for 5 to 15 breaths
  • To come out of the pose, release the arms and roll your spine down on an out-breath

Beginners 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.

Benefits

  • ​​​​​​Stretches out the front body - fronts of the thighs, hips, abdomen and chest
  • Strengthens the back body - legs, glutes and back.​​​​​
  • Improves digestion
  • Energising

Watch out for

  • As you rise up, make sure you don’t flatten the back of the neck. Keep the neck neutral and lift the breastbone towards the chin
  • Don't turn your neck during the pose (either coming in or out of it, or once you're in the full pose). 

Variations

  • Roll your spine - you can come out of the pose by slowly coming down, vertebrae by vertabrae. Allow the spine to slowly roll its way down. You can come up again into the pose the same way. This is a lovely 'spine massage'.
  • You can lift one leg straight up to the ceiling.
  • If you want to make the pose more restorative, place a support like a yoga block or folded towel under your sacrum (just above your tailbone) and let your weight rest on the support.