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Bharadvajasana (Bharadvaja’s Twist): Steps and Benefits

Bharadvajasana is derived from the Sanskrit words "Bharadvaja" (the sage's name) and "asana" (pose). It embodies the wisdom and enlightenment associated with the sage, connecting us to ancient traditions.

Bharadvajasana (Bharadvaja’s Twist)

The correct way to pronounce Bharadvajasana is "Bar-ad-VAH-jah-suh-nuh."

Anatomy of Bharadvajasana (Bharadvaja’s Twist)


Bharadvajasana primarily targets the spine, shoulders, hips, and abdomen. As you twist, you engage the core muscles, fostering balance and flexibility in these regions.


How to Perform Bharadvajasana I (Bharadvaja’s Twist I)

  1. Begin in a seated position with your legs extended.

  2. Shift your weight to the right hip and bend your knees.

  3. Bring your feet to the left side of your hips, placing the left foot under the right leg.

  4. Inhale and elongate your spine, sitting tall.

  5. As you exhale, twist your torso to the right, placing your left hand on the outer edge of your right knee.

  6. Keep your right hand on the floor behind you for support.

  7. Hold the twist for a few breaths, lengthening the spine with each inhalation and deepening the twist with each exhalation.

  8. Repeat on the other side.

Bharadvajasana I (Bharadvaja’s Twist I)

When to Do It

Bharadvajasana is an excellent addition to your regular yoga practice. It's best practiced in the morning on an empty stomach or in the evening, at least four to six hours after a meal.


Preparatory Poses

Prepare your body for the twist with poses like Balasana (Child's Pose), Baddha Konasana (Butterfly Pose), and Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose).


Follow-Up Poses

Follow up with poses like Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) or Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) to further enhance the benefits of the twist.


Chakra

Bharadvajasana stimulates the Manipura chakra, enhancing your personal power, self-confidence, and transformative abilities.

Manipura chakra (solar plexus)

Mantra for this Pose

While in Bharadvajasana, you can repeat the mantra "Om Namah Shivaya" to invoke divine energy and deepen your practice.


Alignment Cues

  • Ground both sitting bones evenly.

  • Lengthen your spine on every inhale.

  • Engage your core to support the twist.

  • Avoid forcing the twist; let it come naturally with your breath.

Duration of Hold

Hold the twist for about 30 seconds to one minute on each side, gradually increasing the duration as you become more comfortable.


Drishti

Gaze over your right shoulder during the twist, keeping your neck relaxed.


Physical & Spiritual Awareness

This asana opens your heart and encourages a sense of compassion and understanding. Focus on the breath to establish a connection between the physical and spiritual aspects of the pose.


Beginners’ Tips

For beginners, it's essential to start with gentle twists and gradually deepen the pose as flexibility improves. Avoid straining the back or forcing the twist beyond your comfort level.


Who Should Not Do It

Pregnant women, individuals with recent abdominal surgeries, or those with severe spinal injuries should avoid this pose.


Who Should Do It

Bharadvajasana is suitable for most practitioners and is especially beneficial for those seeking to improve spine flexibility and digestion.


Benefits of Bharadvajasana (Bharadvaja’s Twist)

  1. Spinal Mobility: The twist helps in increasing the flexibility of the spine, keeping it healthy and supple.

  2. Digestive Health: The pose aids digestion, alleviates gas, and stimulates the abdominal organs.

  3. Detoxification: It helps to detoxify the body by wringing out toxins from the organs.

  4. Stress Reduction: Practicing the twist releases tension in the back, shoulders, and neck, promoting relaxation.

  5. Hip Flexibility: Regular practice of Bharadvajasana improves hip mobility.

  6. Balanced Energy Flow: By stimulating the Manipura chakra, the pose balances the body's energy centers.

Variations of Bharadvajasana (Bharadvaja’s Twist)

Advanced practitioners can experiment with binding the pose or extending the top arm over the ear for a deeper stretch or can try Bharadvajasana II (Bharadvaja’s twist II)


How to Perform Bharadvajasana II (Bharadvaja’s Twist II)

Bharadvajasana I (Bharadvaja’s Twist I)

Entering the Pose:

  1. Start seated on the floor with your legs extended forward.

  2. Internally rotate the left leg, bending the knee, and placing the left heel outside the left hip. Keep knees slightly apart.

  3. Externally rotate the right knee, placing the sole of the right foot on the left thigh. Modify if needed.

  4. In Lotus, fully close the right knee joint, pulling the right foot into the left hip crease.

  5. Engage core to avoid leaning to one side.

  6. Reach the right hand around the back, holding onto the right foot. Modify by reaching for the left thigh or shirt.

  7. Lean slightly forward, pressing into the right hand to keep the left hip grounded.

  8. Inhale, lifting the ribs; exhale, extend the left arm across, placing the hand under the right knee.

In the Pose:

  1. Twist along the center axis, folding the right shoulder forward and down, pulling the left shoulder back.

  2. Keep the belly sucked in, grounding the hips back.

  3. Relax the neck, gaze gently over the right shoulder.

  4. Press the heel of the left hand into the ground, gripping with left fingers.

  5. Activate the pelvic floor and hold, focusing on the centerline.

Exiting the Pose:

  1. Softly release, exhaling as you unwind.

  2. Repeat the pose on the opposite side.


Modifications for Bharadvajasana (Bharadvaja’s Twist)

If you have knee discomfort, place a cushion or folded blanket under the buttocks for support. You can also use a yoga strap to help with the twist if reaching the hand to the knee is challenging.


Common Mistakes

Avoid collapsing the chest and rounding the back. Instead, focus on maintaining an elongated spine throughout the twist.


Safety and Precautions

Listen to your body and avoid forcing yourself into the pose. If you experience pain or discomfort, ease out of the twist gently.


Additional Preparation Tips

  • Direction to Face: Ideally, face east while practicing Bharadvajasana to align with the energy of the rising sun and embrace new beginnings.

  • What to Wear: Wear comfortable and stretchy clothing that allows you to move freely during the practice.

  • Suitable Place and Essential Oil or Fragrance: Practice in a quiet and peaceful space. Consider using calming essential oils like lavender or sandalwood to enhance the experience.

  • Music for this Pose: Soft instrumental or nature-inspired music can help create a tranquil ambiance for your practice.

Remember, Bharadvajasana is not just about the physical twist; it's an opportunity to harmonize your mind, body, and spirit. Embrace the journey with patience and an open heart, and you'll discover the profound transformative power this pose holds within.



Happy twisting!

Namaste!



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About the Author

Namaste! My name is Pooja Chauhan

I am a Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher and a practitioner. Diving deep into the realm of my own heritage to create a significant impact in preserving and sharing my culture with the world.

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