The bridge pose, originally named Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (pronounced Say-tuh Ban-dha Sarvah-angah-sana) which when you break it down essentially means all limbs locked in a bridge pose.
Or, to put it even more plainly, during this pose the body will resemble a bridge so this is the exact reason why it is given its name. This pose involves back-bending and stretching and is a great beginner level pose which you can hold for 30-60 seconds.
To explain even further, the bridge pose is an inverted back-bending posture which mainly works as a way to stretch the spine, the chest and the neck. This pose is commonly used in Vinyasa yoga pose sequences.
This pose works well as a preparation tool for the body, as a sort of warm-up before progressing on to more intense back-bending yoga poses.
This pose does not just help with improving flexibility and also body strength, this yoga pose also helps to improve your posture and it is also perfect for relaxing your muscles.
This pose will leave you feeling refreshed and energized, so this is something that you should definitely add into your yoga routine.
How To Do The Bridge Pose
Practicing this yoga pose is not all that complicated, after all, it is ranked at beginner level so it is not too daunting for you to include into your yoga routine.
Here, we will now go through a step-by-step process of what you need to do in order to achieve the perfect bridge pose.
- Prepare for the yoga pose – to do this you need to lay on the floor on your back. At this stage your back should be completely flat on the floor.
- Then you can bend your knees and bring your feet towards your hips – do this as close as you can. Just to perfect this starting position make sure that your feet are hip-width apart and that your knees are pointing upwards.
- Now place your arms beside the body – if it feels more comfortable for you, you can also grab your ankles with your hands, and this will help to give you that extra support.
- To get into the pose, the first thing you need to do is inhale – make sure that when you do this you press your feet firmly on the floor and that you lift your pelvis off the floor.
- Lifting off the floor is a gradual process – once you have lifted your pelvis off the floor you can then lift your lower back off the floor, and then lift your middle back off the floor. Make sure that you take the support of your arms just to lift your back.
- Get your feet flat on the floor – make sure that you use this to your advantage and that you distribute your weight evenly throughout both of your feet. Here’s the thing, you might find it tempting to just lift your heels up, but do not do this. Keep them flat on the floor.
- Make sure that you balance your body weight on your shoulders as well as your feet – this will help you to raise your back and your hips as much as possible. Once you have raised your body enough, you can then tuck your chin gently towards your collarbone. This is something that you should not do forcefully, you should just relax into this movement and then exhale completely.
- Feel the stretch – at this point you will really feel the stretch in your back, and also in your thighs. You will also really feel this stretch in your neck and in your chest. When you are in your position, your shins will be positioned perpendicularly to the floor and your thighs will also be parallel to the floor.
- Take some slow and gentle breaths – when you do this you need to make sure that you take slow and gentle breaths, and when you do this make sure that your hips, your back and your chest are lifted. You should hold this position for 30-60 seconds and ensure that you bring your full awareness to the flow of prana.
- When you have finished, take a long and deep breath – when you exhale, you can then slowly put your entire back onto the floor. Then you can unfold your legs and just completely relax your whole body.
We recommend that you use a yoga mat in this position, as it will really help to make incorporating this yoga pose into your yoga routine a lot more comfortable. As you can see, the bridge pose is a relatively simple and a relatively straightforward yoga position.
So, this is perfect for beginners learning yoga, but, at first you might find this pose quite difficult to hold. To get additional support when you are attempting this pose you can also use a yoga block. Additionally, you can also push your push with your hands just to help you to raise your back.
Once you raise your back enough you can then place your hands beside your body. Just to help get that better comfort around your neck area, you can also use a folded blanket under your shoulders, under your neck and under your head just to make yourself as comfortable as possible.
When you are attempting this yoga pose you need to make sure that you really stretch in accordance to your body limit. What we are saying here is that you must not go beyond your stretching limits, or you could end up really hurting yourself.
Also, once you have raised your back in this yoga pose you should not move or you should not adjust your neck because this can really cause strain in your neck.
If you are wanting to adjust your neck then you need to come back flat to the floor and then adjust your neck, and get back into the bridge pose.
You should avoid this pose if you are prone to migraines, or if you have any recent or any deep injuries on your neck or back area as this pose really opens up the muscles of the neck and also the shoulders.
The Benefits Of The Bridge Pose
The bridge pose actually comes with a lot of health benefits on a physical level and also on a mental level. The bridge pose helps to strengthen the body and it also helps you to really improve your flexibility, and it can generally improve your body posture.
This yoga pose can really help you to strengthen your spine, this is because it applies pressure to and also stretches the entire back. This really works to increase the strength and flexibility of your back.
This yoga pose also helps to tone the muscles of the spinal column and this is really important as it keeps the spine healthy (Poses like this can be helpful for conditions such as Scoliosis. For more information, read here). This pose also helps to tone the muscles of the neck, and it really removes strain and pressure from the neck, and it helps to improve the posture of the neck too.
This yoga pose also really helps to increase the flow of blood to the brain, and this is key in reducing stress, or depression or just any other negative emotions. This pose helps to lift your mood.
The bridge pose really helps to stretch out your core muscles, and it massages the internal muscles and also the glands of the abdominal region.
The bridge pose also helps to improve the digestive system along with metabolism. The bridge pose also stretches the chest region, and this opens the full capacity of the lungs. It also really aids the good health of the respiratory system.
The bridge pose prevents hypertension,and it also prevents blood pressure fluctuations. This pose can also help with asthma too just by soothing the entire chest region.
Its benefits do not stop there as this pose also helps your pelvic floor as it massages and it tones the muscles of the pelvic region, which of course helps the health of these organs.
This pose is perfect to include into your yoga routine for all of these benefits, and just because it really helps to soothe your legs muscles.