Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Yoga Backbends

3 Ways to Modify Bridge Pose

Modify Setu Bandha Sarvangasana if needed to find safe alignment in your body.

For exclusive access to all our stories, including sequences, teacher tips, video classes, and more, join Outside+ today.

PREVIOUS STEP IN YOGAPEDIA Perfect Your Bridge Pose in 6 Steps
NEXT STEP IN YOGAPEDIA 3 Poses to Prep for One-Legged Inverted Staff Pose
SEE ALL ENTRIES IN YOGAPEDIA

If your knees splay open, compressing your low back …

None

Try hugging a block between your inner thighs. Keeping your feet parallel and hip-distance apart, place a block at its most narrow width between your inner thighs. Lightly squeeze the block as you lift into Bridge Pose. This keeps your knees in line and buttocks softer; you might notice it feels better in your low back, too.

See also Shoulder Safety, Learn How to Better Prep for Backbends

If your shoulders are tight …

None

Try holding a strap between your hands. Once you’ve lifted your hips off the floor, instead of clasping your hands underneath your torso, use a strap to take your shoulder blades deeper onto your upper back. (Start by holding each end of the strap about shoulder-width, and then gradually move your hands closer together.) Tug on the strap with both hands as you walk the outer edges of your arms underneath you, lifting your chest higher and broadening your collarbones.

See also Upward Bow (Wheel) Pose

If the back of your neck flattens, or if you have a neck injury …

None

Try placing a rolled-up hand towel under your neck. You don’t want the roll to be too thick, just large enough to support the curve of your neck. This will lift your chin away from your sternum and keep your neck and spine safe.

See also Challenge Pose: One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II

Tip: Listen to Your Heart

It’s a natural tendency to thrust your pelvis up to maximum height in Bridge Pose (especially if you tend to be a go-getter). However, all of that drive through the hips actually takes away from the lift of the chest. Yoga is an invitation to open your heart. If you find yourself really pushing your hips up, let your butt relax back down toward the floor and lift your sternum. While it might not feel as rewarding, sometimes backing off from trying to “achieve” (so to speak) is exactly what your heart needs to stay present with what is—the ultimate goal of yoga.

See also How to Backbend Better

About Our Pro
Teacher and model Meagan McCrary is a yoga teacher in Los Angeles and author of Pick Your Yoga Practice: Exploring and Understanding Different Styles of Yoga. To learn more, go to meaganmccrary.com.