Shore Up Your Bridge Pose with a Yoga Block

This entry was posted on Oct 15, 2015 by Charlotte Bell.

Restorative Bridge Pose with a Yoga Block

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.

Here’s how:

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:

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana: Restorative Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose: Get Out of Your Chair

For additional ideas on how to use Yoga Blocks, you can visit the Hugger Mugger Props Guide or read through the growing list of posts on this blog in the category, How to Use Yoga Blocks.

About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.

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