Yoga is a mind-body practice that consists of a series of positions designed to promote flexibility, strength, and balance.

Yoga is an excellent technique for acquiring low-impact physical activity. This form of exercise is both relaxing and beneficial for heart health.

For example, the bridge-like shape called the bridge yoga pose relieves lower back discomfort. It is a low-impact stretching exercise for treating osteoporosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, and mild depression.

Bridge Pose is simultaneously invigorating and restorative. Here is everything you need to know about this effective heart-opener yoga pose - bridge pose.

What is Bridge Pose?

What Is Bridge Pose

Bridge pose, or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, is a backbend and chest-opening yoga practice.

This novice asana (position) requires elevating the hips and sternum while pressing the arms alongside the mat to form a bridge-like effect with the body for maximum flexibility.

Bridge posture is often practiced near the end of a Hatha yoga class after warming up the spine in a standing series.

This pose is excellent for anyone wishing to stretch and develop their muscles simultaneously. It serves two purposes.

The restorative pose stretches your back and abdominal muscles while also expanding your chest, helping with your lumbar spine and strengthening lower body muscles. When you release the stance, you should feel revitalized and calm. 

Which Muscles Are Targeted by Bridge Pose?

For the bridge pose, the back muscles are predominantly utilized. This yoga pose strengthens the back, glutes, hamstrings, and loose abdominal muscles. The bridge posture can also alleviate back stress and weariness.

In addition to strengthening the back, the position stretches the chest, neck, and spine. Then, arching your torso upward helps to expand your lungs and relax your mind. This basic yoga has benefited numerous in the entire body area.

How to Do Bridge Pose

How To Do Bridge Pose

Yoga practitioners can perform bridge poses independently or as a warm-up for wheel poses or shoulder stands. Here is a stepwise instruction guide for performing the bridge position:

1.     Lying on your back with your knees bent. Get in the middle of your yoga mat. Put the soles of your feet on the ground and point your knees up toward the sky.

2.     Move your arms and feet. Spread your arms out to each side of your body with your palms facing down. Spread your feet as far apart as your hips so that the tips of your fingers touch the back of your heels.

3.     Raise the hips. Push down through your feet and hands and slowly lift your hips off the ground without squeezing your glutes.

4.     Put your chin down. Lengthen the back of your neck by tucking your chin slightly toward your chest.

5.     Wrap your hands around each other behind your back. Move your shoulder blades slowly under you, then interlace your hands and press down on them while still doing this to lift your torso.

6.     Let your buttocks loosen up and work your inner thighs. Relax all of your gluteus maximus muscles. Use your quadriceps and hamstrings strength to keep your hips up. Take in and let out the air.

7.     Raise your hips. In the end, you can lift your hips even higher for a few breaths if you can. Feel your low back bend and your hip flexors, and the front of your body stretch deeply.

8.     Let go slowly. Unlace your fingers and slowly lower your hips, vertebra by vertebra, until your tailbone touches the floor. As you finish the pose, take a few deep breaths.

Beginner Tips When Performing Bridge pose

Beginner Tips Bridge Pose

If there are no preparatory poses such as the hero pose or cobra pose, which may enhance blood flow and usher you into the traditional bridge pose, the following tips will immensely help.

Simply keep your arms beside your body, palms flat, and hips higher if you experience severe agony when you try to bind your hands behind your back due to stiff shoulders.

A key aspect of the position is keeping your neck's natural curve. Avoid pressing the mat with the back of your neck to avoid neck injury.

If your hands are clasped, open your chest wide and shimmy your upper arms in front of your shoulders. Avoid pulling your shoulders obnoxiously away from your ears, as this might strain your neck.

Avoid turning your head to the side when you're in this position. Maintain a straight line of sight to the ceiling.

Simple Bridge Pose Variations You Can Try Out

1. Bridge pose with a block

Bridge Pose With Block

If you, as a yoga teacher or your pupils, tend to splay their knees during the yoga session, press a brick between your thighs. This makes the adductor inner thigh muscles stronger. Here is the procedure:

  1. Start by getting on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, ensuring your legs and feet are parallel.
  2. Put your hands flat on the ground with your arms out to the sides.
  3. With your feet parallel and hip-distance apart, position the yoga block between your knees or inner thighs at its narrowest point.
  4. Squeeze the block between your legs gently while securing your feet solidly on the ground and lifting your hips upward.
  5. Your hands should be clasped together and positioned behind your back.
  6. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds, breathing normally and lightly pressing the block throughout that time.
  7. To get out of the pose, steadily descend your spine vertebra by vertebra until you are lying on the floor
  8. Relax after taking the block out from under your legs.

2.     Supported bridge pose

Supported Bridge Pose

If you want to take a more restorative approach, try lying on your stomach with a block beneath the flat area of your low back (the sacrum). You might wish to lay a blanket on the block for additional padding.

Turn your palms upward if it seems more comfortable. As long as it's comfy, stay here. This is how you do it:

  1. Adjust the height of your yoga block to your preferred level of comfort.
  2. Lay on your back with your legs parallel to the ground and your knees bent.
  3. Place your palms firmly on the ground with your arms outstretched.
  4. Lift your hips off the ground by pressing onto the soles of your feet.
  5. Place your pelvis directly on the yoga block and let it rest there. Maintain your arms at your sides.
  6. Remain in place for 30 to 60 seconds. Throughout, you should experience comfort and support. Breathe normally throughout.
  7. Plant your feet firmly into the ground and elevate your hips just enough to slide the block out from under you to get out of the position. Slowly roll your back vertebrae one at a time down to the floor.

3.     Supported bridge pose with a strap

Supported Bridge Pose With Strap

Your knees should be roughly hip distance apart as you bring a strap around your thighs and secure it.

Press your knees' hip width up against the resistance of the strap for an aggressive variation of the position that tones and strengthens your outer thighs.

Place a block at any height below your sacrum (the flat portion of your very low back) for a more deep relaxation variation, and stay in the posture for however long feels comfortable while also doing deep breathing.

Health Benefits of Bridge Pose (Setu bandha sarvangasana)

Health Benefits Of Bridge Pose

Yoga is incredibly beneficial in so many ways. Some of the key advantages include enhanced balance, coordination, and posture.

Heart health and emotional advantages are two things that the yoga bridge position has to offer. Yoga is all about cultivating a happy, healthy mindset. 

1.     Children

Children can benefit greatly from yoga. Children's attention spans, understanding skills, and memory are all enhanced by this practice. Children who practice yoga can better prepare for school.

Children are given the time and space to think and comprehend emotional learning through this mindful practice. Children can practice the bridge position easily at home or in a yoga class.

2.     Osteoporosis

Your posture will improve due to the bridge stance, which will also lessen osteoporosis pain. Strengthening and balancing your body also lowers your risk of falling, contributing to osteoporotic fractures.

3.     Lower back aches

The bridge stance can effectively release lower back tension. Additionally, you can adapt this stance to any motion that meets your present spinal demands.

4.     Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) 

The bridge stance is also beneficial for PCOS pain. The flow might relieve lower back discomfort, sciatica, and stiffness in the back, thighs, hips, and ankles. Holding this position for a few beats and performing it eight to ten times while menstruating or pregnant can be beneficial.

5.     Hip flexibility

The main muscle groups surrounding your hip have been demonstrated to become more flexible after practicing yoga. Your back, quadriceps, and abdominal muscles are all strengthened in this pose.

These muscles support maintaining the range of motion in your hip joints, facilitating tasks like walking, standing, and stair climbing.

Safety Tips to Consider Before Engaging in Bridge Pose

Safety Tips Bridge Pose

Even though Bridge Pose is a basic pose, you should still use caution, especially if you are new to yoga.

When working with a licensed personal trainer, picking up new poses and exercises like this one is always a good idea.

They can demonstrate the maneuver in detail for you and correct any errors. Consult your doctor before performing the posture if you have any current medical concerns.

Some people should avoid the bridge pose, especially if any of these circumstances apply to you, don't do it.

  1. Recently, you had a spine, back, brain surgery, neck, or shoulder injury.
  2. You have a significant back injury, such as a slipped disc.
  3. Your blood pressure is elevated.
  4. You frequently get neck aches.
  5. You recently underwent knee replacement surgery or your knees are weak.

Note: Pregnant women might be allowed to perform bridge poses with some changes, but they should see their doctor before doing so.

Conclusion – An Overview of Bridge Pose

The bridge posture, also known as Setu bandhasana, is also known as setu bandha sarvangasana.

The back, thighs, spine, pubic bone, neck, and other body parts are stretched in this position, which may be helpful for several medical issues.

You can do practice bridge pose by lying on your back on the ground, bending your knees, keeping your feet and ankles straight, and lifting your upper body while keeping your legs on the floor hip-width apart for a few rounds.

The arms, shoulders, and feet help to support the body. Please make sure you practice this pose under the direction and watchful eye of a certified yoga instructor.

This pose may be beneficial for treating asthma, thyroid issues, back discomfort, neck pain, and other conditions.

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