How to perform the bridge pose through harmonious bending – a variant of the SETU-BANDHASANA posture

Even though the yoga posture, SETU BANDHASANA (Bridge pose) presented on our website is quite difficult, even for an advanced practitioner, there is an easier option that is available to any practitioner. This is called ARDHA SETU BANDHASANA – “Half-bridge pose” or as we shall see below, “Bridge pose achieved through harmonious bending.” 
Etymologically, ARDHA SETU BANDHASANA translates into semi-bridge position because ARDHA means “half”, SETU means “bridge” and BANDHA means “contraction”. 

Method of execution

Starting position

In the first phase beginner yogis will stretch on the floor. Then they will proceed into the SARVANGASANA posture (candle posture). 


First step:

Start with SARVANGASANA, the hands support the trunk, which will be perpendicular to the ground. At this point, the body will be supported with the palms and the other four fingers but not the thumb. 
If for ARDHA SETU BANDHASANA the hands are not properly placed, the movement of bringing your body down to the floor will be impossible to control. 


Second step:

Bend your right knee and bring it closer to the body, which acts as a counter weight during the descent time. 



Third step:

Bring the left foot down on the floor gradually, inch by inch. At first we may lose control of the movement and fall, but we must be persistent. This is the only way to succeed. In time we will be able to control the movement of descent.



Final position:
To complete the posture it is enough to bring the right foot next to the left one. The harmonious bending movement is achieved by stretching the legs out in front, placing them apart from the trunk. The soles of the feet must be flat on the floor. Then we continue to breathe easily, without forcing ourselves in any way, for about 30 seconds. At first, we will tend to breathe in a rapid pace, according to the intensity of this asana, but along the way we will relax into this posture. 

Attention! In making this stretching movement we will change the position of the hands. They will be placed in the lumbar area. Thus, this area will benefit from intense stretching and flexibility. 




In the order of asanas, this position follows immediately after SARVANGASANA. This posture does not require to be held for long, which is one of the reasons that can be easily integrated into daily practice. 

A variant of the posture with one leg raised

One of the main purposes of this asana is the intense energizing of the lower back. In the “simple bridge pose” variant the bending is bearable. 
In the “bridge pose achieved through harmonious bending” this stretch is more pronounced. 
Being in the position SETU BANDHASANA ARDHA we raise one leg up, having our foot stretched. This harmonious contraction presses the leg veins and activates the circulation. 
Once in this position, we breathe easily for 10 times and then gently bring our foot to the floor. Then we lift the other leg and breathe in the same way. The lifted leg will increase further activation of the lumbar zone. All this leg muscles are contracted. After both legs are lifted one at a time, we stretch out on the floor. 


Finally, we remain seated on the floor and perform a short relaxation, realizing the benefits of this asana. 

Common mistakes in performing this posture:

One of the most common mistakes is the wrong positioning of the hands on the hips. If they are placed too far from the pelvic area and if your hips are not flexible,
your fingers and palms will hurt. 


This asana is prohibited for persons suffering from lumbar lordosis. 

Beneficial Effects:

This asana improves the suppleness and flexibility of the spine and facilitates the achievement of other asanas like CHAKRASANA (back wheel position). 
From a medical standpoint, it effectively acts on the nervous system of the sacral parasympathetic. The parasympathetic system provides control of the genital organs and urinary tract. ARDHA SETU BANDHASANA gives and ensures the health and proper functioning of these organs, which is extremely important, not only sexually, but also in terms of hormones. By beneficially and harmoniously stimulating the sexual hormone secretion, this asana works indirectly on the whole body and that is why this asana is unique in terms of the regeneration of the body.

October 2013

Also available in: Română

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