bridge pose – half wheel (setu bandha sarvangasana) A solid backbend for all levels of practice.

by September 26, 2012

Bridge Pose, or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana in Sanskrit, is a backbend and a mild inversion, which means you bring your bottom half above your top half so the heart is above the head. While this pose is much easier to perform than many other inversions, such as Supported Shoulderstand or Headstand, it still gives you the benefits of an inversion. Inversions can improve thyroid problems and improve blood flow around the body.  See the heart is always pumping blood up to the brain, in an inversion…the blood flows much easier to the brain providing a “blood bath” or “oxygen bath” to the brain.

Bridge pose can be a good transition into these more advanced inversions during a session, or it can help you work your way up to performing them. Since this pose is also a backbend, it can open your chest, improve your posture and help back pain.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Begin by lying on your back on your mat with your arms on the floor at your sides and your palms facing down. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the mat and as close to your buttocks as you can get them without your knees going past your ankles. This pose is easier and better for your alignment if you bring your knees about shoulder-width apart. To prepare, you can begin by rocking your pelvis forward and back, then bringing your hips slightly off the ground and back down a few times. Breathe out and press your arms and feet into the ground as you lift your hips into the air until your hips and abs are in line with your thighs. Keep that straight line and make sure your hips don’t dip down.

You can keep your arms at your sides or you can turn your shoulders under, bring your hands under your back and lock your fingers together. Other options are to hold up your lower back with your hands as you arch a little farther or to arch your back farther and hold your ankles with your hands. Breathe as you hold the pose of your choice for 30 seconds to one minute.

If you had your hands under you, bring them back to your sides. Then slowly come back to the floor one vertebrae at a time until your hips are back on the ground. After Bridge Pose, it feels nice to bring your knees into your chest and rock your hips from side to side.


  • Helps stress, fatigue and headaches
  • Improves thyroid, lungs and abdominal organs
  • Stretches and opens the chest
  • Stretches the neck and spine
  • Improves back pain