Instructor: Sarah N.
Sarah has completed an intensive yoga teacher training program in Pune, India at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute. She has been inspired to continue practicing yoga for life.

Bharadvaja's Twist: Step-by-Step Instructions


Bharadvaja's Twist, also known as "Bharadvajasana", is an easy twist and one the first ones to learn for releasing tension in the spine and promoting circulation in the abdominal organs.

Step by Step Pose Information Benefits Variations

Bharadvajasana

(Pronounced as "bah-ruhd-VA-JAHS-anna")

Bharadvaja was an ancient Vedic sage and the father of Drona, the military master who taught both the Pandavas and Kauravas how to fight when they were young in the Mahabharata epic.

How to do Bharadvaja's Twist Pose

Step One:

Sit on the ground and extend both of your legs straight out in front of you. Lean on your left buttock and bend both of your knees so that your ankles rest on the floor next to your right hip. Arrange your feet into a cross shape where the left foot is on the bottom lying horizontally and the right ankle lies on top of the arch of your left foot. The toes of your right foot should point straight back behind you. Do not sit on the heel of your left foot! Instead, adjust your feet to make sure that you can press your right buttocks all the way down to the floor without sitting on your heel.

Step Two:

Press both of your sitting bones, or ischial tuberosities, down to make full contact with the floor. As you prepare to twist, pressing down equally on both sitting bones will stop you from leaning too much to either side so that you twist evenly.

Now breathe in, using the breath to pull your chest up straight and lengthen your spine. Then exhale as you turn to the left, putting your right hand under your left knee so that your fingers can press down into the floor. Let your belly relax.

Step Three:

Inhale and press your right forearm against your knee, using it as leverage to turn further to the left. Keep looking over your left shoulder at a distant point directly behind your back. Press your left palm into the floor directly behind the center of your back, which keeps your spine straight and lifted. Always sit up straight while inhaling. Turn deeper on your long exhalations.

Step Four:

If you're more flexible, then you can stretch deeper into the twist by bending your left arm and reaching behind your back with your left hand to grab your right elbow. Once you've twisted yourself as far as you can, hold the pose for at least 30 seconds or up to a minute. Use your hands to maintain the twist, pressing both of your sitting bones back down into the floor to keep your chest lifted up straight and evenly at all times.

Step Five:

Come out of the pose by twisting back to the front again on a long exhalation. Now bring both legs straight out in front of you again. Repeat these steps on the other side. Hold the pose for the same amount of time on both sides.

Beginner's Tip:

If you can't keep both sitting bones pressed down into the floor while twisting, then sit on a thickly folded blanket. The blanket only needs to be under the buttock that has the most contact with the floor. That forces the raised buttock to descend so that your hips become level.

Bharadvaja's Twist Pose Information

Sanskrit Name

Bharadvajasana I

Pose Level

Level 1

Contraindications and Cautions

Do not perform this pose if you're suffering from:

  1. Excessive bowel movements or diarrhea
  2. Migraines
  3. Irregular blood pressure
  4. Insomnia
  5. Menstruation

Modifications and Props

If you have knee or ankle problems, then do an easier variation of this pose on a chair.

Sit sideways on a strong chair without wheels that has a firm, flat seat. Position yourself so that the chair back faces your right shoulder. Both of your feet rest flat on the floor directly under your knees with your knees touching.

As you exhale, twist to the right and grab the sides of the back of the chair in your hands. Press your feet down into the floor as you pull yourself into the twist with your hands, keeping your spine straight.

Deepen the Pose

If you can't reach your arm behind your back for the deeper twist, then put a belt around the straightened arm with the hand resting under the knee. You can grab the other end of the belt with your other hand and slowly pull your hand behind your back more and more over time, increasing your range of movement.

Bharadvaja's Twist Pose Benefits

  • Improves blood flow to the abdominal organs
  • Alleviates lower back, neck and shoulder pain as well as sciatica
  • Stimulates better digestion
  • Strengthens the back and releases tension in the wrists that leads to carpal tunnel syndrome

Bharadvaja's Twist Pose Variations

Bharadvajasana II

Straighten your legs on the floor in front of you. Place your left leg next to your left hip in Virasana (Hero Pose). Put your right leg in Padmasana (Lotus Pose), supporting your right knee if you have discomfort. Twist to your right and grab your right knee using your left hand. Twist further, pushing your right arm behind your back to grab your right foot, using a belt is you can't reach it.

Partnering

A partner can help you learn to put balanced pressure on your opposite-side buttock. Ask them to press down on the top your thigh when it starts popping up as you twist.

Next Pose:

Big Toe Pose

9 styles | 152 poses

Beginner Yoga Poses

Bharadvaja's Twist Pose
Big Toe Pose
Boat Pose
Bound Angle Pose
Bow Pose
Bridge Pose
Camel Pose
Cat Pose
Chair Pose
Child's Pose
Cobra Pose
Corpse Pose
Cow Pose
Cow Face Pose
Crow Pose
Dolphin Plank Pose
Downward Dog Pose
Eagle Pose
Eight Angle Pose
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
Extended Puppy Pose
Extended Side Angle Pose
Firefly Pose
Fish Pose
Garland Pose
Half Frog Pose
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Half Moon Pose
Yoga Handstand
Happy Baby Pose
Head To Knee Pose
High Lunge Pose
Legs Up The Wall Pose
Locust Pose
Lotus Pose
Shoulder Pressing Pose
Low Lunge Pose
Monkey Pose
Mountain Pose
Noose Pose
Plank Pose
Plow Pose
Sage Koundinya I Pose
Sage Marichi's Pose
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Revolved Triangle Pose
Revolved Head to Knee Pose
Reclining Hero Pose
Scale Pose
Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose
Peacock Pose
Pyramid Pose
Crescent Lunge Pose
Heron Pose
Hero Pose
Feathered Peacock Pose
Staff Pose
Seated Forward Bend Pose
Four Limbed Staff Pose
Revolved Side Angle Pose
Wild Thing Pose
Side Crow Pose
Side Plank Pose
Sphinx Pose
Supported Headstand (Sirsasana)
Tree Pose
Standing Split
Supported Shoulderstand
Standing Half Forward Bend
Triangle Pose
Upward Plank Pose
Upward Facing Two Foot Staff Pose
Wheel Pose
Upward Salute Pose
Upward Facing Dog Pose
Warrior I Pose
Warrior II Pose
Warrior III Pose
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
Easy Pose
Gate Pose
Wide Legged Forward Fold
Dancer Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II
Marichi's Pose
Fire Log Pose
Standing Forward Bend
Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II

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