Yoga Therapy Tip: Bridge Pose, Four Ways

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Make your bridge pose harder, sturdier, and safer with props


Bridge pose, or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, is one of the Top 10 Poses I feel you should have in your repertoire.   With our urban lifestyle where we’re often chained to a desk all day, and when we take on sports like running and cycling with a vengeance, the hip and spinal extension in Bridge Pose is a must for most.

Here are the basic cues for practicing Bridge:

  1. Feet and knees should be hip-width apart.  Knee pain is never something to put up with.
  2. Your deep lower abdominal muscles and your buttock, or glute, muscles should contract together to lift the hips.  Do NOT tilt the pelvis to move into Bridge.
  3. Shoulders should roll down to the floor and upper arms should rotate out so palms point up to the ceiling, at least at first.
  4. The upper back should arch and the chest should move towards the chin.  You should still be able to breath and NOT feel lo0w back pain.  EVER.

From the basics there are ways to explore the main points so that you can get more out of the pose.  Here are four ways to help you get more out of your Bridge.  Play with all of them in your practice even if you find the pose Easy.


Variation 1: Bound arms and lifted feet

The blocks help to increase the extension or “backbend” of the thoracic spine/upper back.  The strap helps keep the arms in line with the shoulders, to keep the shoulders grounded, and to keep the chest open.

Bridge Pose with strap, blanket, and blocks


Variation 2: Lifted feet and supported shoulders

Helps with the extension or “backbend” of the thoracic spine/upper back.

Bridge Pose with blocks


Variation 3: Braced legs

Helps to reduce and even eliminate knee pain.

Bridge Pose with two blocks


Variation 4: Classic

When ready..

Bridge Pose



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