Setubandhasana (Bridge Pose) is an all-around beneficial pose for counteracting the most prevalent poses we practice in our daily lives. You know the ones: hunching over a desk or a steering wheel, slouching in comfy chairs.
Most of what we do every day involves flexing our hip joints and leaning forward, which shortens the front body and weakens the back body. When practiced actively, Bridge Pose is an accessible, easy pose that stimulates and strengthens the back body and expands the front body.
Practiced passively, with the support of a Yoga Block, Bridge Pose not only expands the front body, but can calm the nervous system in a way that’s similar to the effects of supported inversions such as Viparita Karani or Instant Maui. After a long day of mental gymnastics, at work and with friends and family, Supported Bridge Pose with a Yoga Block can be a welcome respite for the body and mind.
It’s very simple to set up for Supported Bridge Pose. Lie on your back on a Yoga Mat with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor. Place your arms at your sides with your palms down. Make sure your Yoga Block is within arm’s reach. Press your arms and feet into the floor and extend your knees forward, away from the body, to begin the process of lifting your pelvis off the floor. Place your Yoga Block under your sacroiliac joint—not under your spine. Every Yoga Block has three options for height: flat (low), on its side (medium) and on its end (tall). Choose whichever height allows you to relax and breathe easy, while still expanding your front body.
Arm positions: You can stretch your arms overhead, as in the photo at the top of the page. Another option is to clasp your hands underneath you (as in the adjacent photo) to further expand your chest.
Using a second Yoga Block: If your knees are uncomfortable in Bridge Pose, try placing a second Yoga Block—a 3-Inch Yoga Block works especially well—between your thighs, as in the adjacent photo. Squeeze the thighs together into the block. This will make the pose more active.
Here are a couple posts giving more details on Bridge Pose: