How To Do Bridge Pose
The Bridge Pose is all about taking stock of yourself. Listening to what your body needs and wants, and then giving it what is asked. This pose works the shoulders, spine, and thighs in varying measures. These are the areas that receive the greatest benefit and, as you perform the posture, these parts of the body will let you know when you're pushing too hard.
That's the key to Bridge Pose. Keep it easy, don't force the pose, and your body will naturally take to it. As you execute this posture, allow your mind and body to connect and become one. This is why many yogis will practice Bridge Pose as a way to slow down, relax, and reconnect.
Related: Camel Pose | How To Do Ustrasana
How To Do Bridge Pose
Follow these steps to help you accomplish this pose. Don't worry if you can't lift all the way up or you feel tightness in the shoulders; you have options for adjustment further below:
- Rest your body flat on your back on the floor, with your arms at your side. Place your feet flat with your heels back towards the sitting bones. Get the heels all the way back or as far as you can place them comfortably. Bend your knees.
- On an exhale, press the insides of your feet and your arms to the floor and push the tailbone up. Keep the buttocks firm as you lift them off the floor next.
- Keep the thighs and the inner feet at a parallel position, and clasp both hands together beneath the pelvis. Extend through both arms to keep you positioned at the upper portion of the shoulders.
- Bring the buttocks up so your thighs are kept at a parallel position to the floor. Hold both knees right above the heels and push forward and away from your hips. Lengthen your tailbone in the direction at the back of the knees. Bring your pelvis towards your belly-button.
- Lift the chin from the breastbone as you firm the shoulder blades against your backs. Push the upper part of the breastbone toward your chin. Stiffen the outsides of your arms while you broaden the shoulder blades and lift the area between them towards the base of your neck.
- Hold the pose for up to one minute. When it's time to release, exhale and roll the length of the spine back down against the floor, slowly.
What Is Bridge Pose Good For?
There are many benefits to performing the Bridge Pose:
- Opening the heart and chest and helping to improve lung capacity.
- Opening the shoulders while stretching the spine, the neck, the hip joints and thighs.
- Relieving fatigue and anxiety and helping to soothe headaches and stress by calming the mind.
- Engaging the abdominal organs and stimulating the thyroid, both of which are ideal for increasing digestion and managing your metabolism.
- Good for rejuvenating the body, particularly the legs and shoulders, after staying seated in one place for too long. This is a great pose for anyone who spends long office hours at a desk.
Modifications And Variations To Bridge Pose
Whether you're just getting started with this pose or you're a seasoned veteran, sometimes you need an adjustment to make the pose easier to perform. Take some of these ideas into consideration the next time you need a little extra help and support:
- Tightness in the shoulders can be a barrier to performing Bridge Pose successfully. If you’re experiencing this, try resting your hands at the side of the mat and pushing into the mat rather than clasping them.
- Feel free to secure a block beneath the sacrum (the base of your spine) to add some support to the pelvis while lifting the hips. This will allow you to rest your weight while you execute the posture.
- For those yogis who want to make the Bridge Pose a little more of a challenge, don't firm the buttocks but leave them in a relaxed state instead. Rely on the thigh muscles for bringing up the hips.
- You can even adjust the pose entirely by practicing One-Legged Bridge. In this version of the posture, go into Bridge and as you exhale, bring the right knee into the chest. Inhale and straighten the leg while extending the heel to the ceiling. Keep the bottom of the foot flat, as if you were flattening it against the surface of the ceiling. Hold that for 30 seconds before exhaling as you return your foot to the floor. Repeat with the opposite leg, hold for 30, and release on exhale.
As with any yoga pose, be careful when performing that pose. Mind any injuries or conditions you have before you attempt any posture. For Bridge Pose, anyone with a neck injury or shoulder injury should avoid this posture. Remember never to force yourself to do anything that your body is not comfortable in doing. You must always be in tune with your own limitations and capabilities and work within those parameters.
Looking to practice more yoga poses to help you relax and relieve pain? Check out the Yoga Society Poses Blog.