Image of Eve lying lengthwise face-up on a bolster with shoulders on the floor and feet up on second bolsters, relaxing.

The healing benefits of supported bridge

Do you have poses that you do rain or shine and in all seasons. Your body and mind say, ‘This is an every day pose. Bring it!’ Supported bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) is one of these.

It can be performed in a variety of ways. And, it can be done with or without props.

Using props makes supported bridge a restorative pose which gives it additional healing benefits.

For my part, I do supported bridge to help with any low back compression stemming from gardening, As well, it’s good for my body after my free weights workout. Part of why the pose is good for the lower back and sacrum is because it stretches the abdominal area at the same time. This part of your body tenses up when your back is tight but it’s hard to release it. When the back and belly relax in supported bridge, tension in the digestive organs eases, too.

Another advantage of the pose is that it soothes your nervous system. The props support your heart and lungs to open gently, and, without any effort from you. Five or ten minutes in supported bridge can calm your mind, as well as reduce nervous exhaustion. 

Here are a few more benefits for Setu Bandha Sarvangasana:

  • It opens your dorsal thoracic, breathing and shoulders.
  • It rests your heart.
  • It relieves eye or ear problems and headaches.

Here’s how you do it

  • Lie down with your hips and spine on bolster. Adjust the bolster so that the bottom tips of your shoulder blades drape over the edge of the bolster and your shoulders rest on the floor.
  • Use a belt on your thighs to keep them internally rotated.
  • Place your feet on an upright block or a bolster that you’ve arranged at the wall.
  • Relax your arms and have your arms straight or elbows bent to form a right angle.
  • Close your eyes and stay for 5 minutes or more.

If there’s any discomfort in your lower back, try tucking your buttocks under and/or bending your legs and having your feet on the floor.

For a video demonstration of this pose: