Bharadvaja's Twist 

{Sanskrit} Bharadvajasana

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HOW TO

  • In a seated position, bend your knees and lower them to the right and slide your feet to the left (like you would sitting on a sofa) let your left ankle rest in the arch of your right foot

  • Press down through your sit bones, inhale and lengthen the spine. Move your arms to the outside of your right leg.

  • Then with the support of your arms twist towards the right on an exhalation - your left hip may raise a little.

  • Turn your head and neck last, firmly pressing the fingertips of your right hand into the floor

  • Keep lengthening your spine as you inhale and explore the depth of your twist as you exhale, stay for a few breaths

  • To come out of this pose, release your hands, bring your torso to the front and straighten your legs

  • Repeat on the other side

  1. Beginners tips

    • If your sitting bones are not firmly grounded, i.e. you are tilting onto the twisting side, try sitting up on a thickly folded blanket.

  2. Benefits

    • Keeps your spine mobile

    • Massages the abdominal organs and improves digestion

  3. Watch out for...

    • Ground your sitting bones to lengthen the spine, then allow your hips to follow your spine in the twist to some degree

    • Length in the spine is more important than the depth of the twist. 

  4. Variations

    • For an easier version, sit sideways on a chair, with the back of the chair to your right. Bring your knees together and heels directly below the knees. Exhale and twist toward the back of the chair. Hold onto the sides of the chair and make the movement of trying to pull the chair apart.

    • You can increase the challenge further by changing the position of your arms and hands. Exhale and swing your right arm around behind your back as you twist to the right. Hold the left arm just at the elbow (if you can reach, otherwise take hold of your shirt). Turn your left arm outward and slip the hand under the right knee, palm on the floor


BENEFITS

PHYSICALLY

  • Improves mobility and flexibility in the hip joint and stretches the inner thighs

MENTALLY / EMOTIONALLY

  • Grounding and calming


VARIATIONS + TIPS

  • Heels can be close to the hips to focus on inner thighs, feet further away from the hips can be felt more into hamstrings. Experiment with how this postures feels in your body being aware of hip and knee joints

  • Sitting on a folded blanket can help with the forward tilt of the hips

  • For an ankle or foot injury you may want to place a blanket in a position which supports you in the pose and helps to avoid any pain

  • In a YIN practice, the heels are further away from the hips creating more of a diamond shape, the back can round slightly and you may want to use props such as bolsters, blocks to rest the head. You can stay in this posture much longer in a Yin practice - from 1-5 minutes.