Bridge pose, (or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) is a gentle inversion that has many benefits, including:
- Releasing the chest and shoulders
- Easing lower back pain and preventing further flares of back pain
- Glute activation and strengthening (great for runners!)
- Calming stress and anxiety symptoms
I often teach this pose in my classes and therapeutic yoga for wellbeing one to one sessions due to it’s wide range of benefits and modifications. It is accessible for most people who are able to get onto the floor comfortably.
Lie down on your back with bent knees and feet flat on the floor. Inhale, tipping the pelvis forward slightly, then lifting the hips, pressing through the feet. You will notice the glute (bum) muscles engaging to lift the hips.
Exhale, slowly rolling the spine down to the floor, until the hips reach the floor again.
Repeat several times, moving with the breath – lifting up on the inhale and lowering down with the exhale. This is a flowing, dynamic, restorative movement.
- Try pausing at the top for a few breaths to make this into a static pose – great for gluteal activation. Check that the glutes are engaging (not the lower back and hamstrings taking over) and that the thighs are parallel – not starting to float outwards. When this is comfortable, you can experiment with lifting one leg at a time whilst keeping the pelvis level – this single leg glute movement helps to recruit the hip abductors – important for runners and reducing lower back problems.
- Come up to the top and pause, this time placing a block or book between your knees – this helps to really engage the hip abductors/gluteus medius.
- When holding at the top, inhale and gently expand through the chest, slightly pulling the shoulders closer together and clasping the hands together underneath the back for an energising chest opener.
Let me know what you think! Do you practice this pose? Do you find it helpful?