[Pose Of the Week] Stretch & Release With Bharadvaja’s Twist (Beginner)

Stretch tight muscles, relieve back pain, and cultivate a state of calm with Bharadvaja’s Twist…

Twisting poses are common in most yoga classes, and with good reason. In general, yoga twists can help to stretch the spinal muscles and relieve back pain, calm the nervous system, and stimulate the internal organs. Therefore, they are often thought of as detoxifying poses. While some twists can be more extreme, there are many gentler twists that are suitable for beginners or those who are troubled with chronic pain conditions and have less flexibility.

For example, Bharadvaja’s Twist (Bharadvajasana I) – also sometimes called “Pose Dedicated to the Sage Bharadvaja” – is a very gentle seated twist that is accessible for just about anyone. This pose helps to re-balance your body from head to toe by stretching the spine, shoulders, hips, and torso, massaging the internal organs, and helping to improve digestion and detoxification. It can also help to relieve lower back pain, neck pain, and sciatica, and it is thought to wring stress from the body, creating a calm and peaceful state of mind.

Those who may have a recent injury to the knees, hips, or spine, or who are currently experiencing headaches, low or high blood pressure, insomnia or diarrhea, should avoid this pose. If you are experiencing back pain, back injuries, or if you have degenerative disk disease, you should only attempt this pose with the guidance of an experienced therapeutic yoga instructor. Although Bharadvaja’s Twist is generally a safe twist even for pregnant women, you should consult with your doctor first if you have any concerns.

Here are the basic instructions for performing the pose:

  1. Begin seated on the floor with your legs extended in front of you, arms resting at your sides. This is Staff Pose (Dandasana).

  2. Shift your weight to your right buttock. Bend your knees and bring your legs to the left. Rest your legs on the floor and place your left inner ankle in the arch of your right foot.

  3. On an inhalation, lengthen your spine as long as you can. Exhaling, twist your upper torso to the right. Place your right hand on the floor behind your body, and rest your left hand on your outer right thigh. Turn your left palm up.

  4. Press down through your left sit bone. If your left hip is lifting off the floor, place a folded, firm blanket or folded yoga mat beneath your right sit bone to re-gain balance.

  5. Draw your shoulder blades down your back and in toward your back ribs. There will be a slight backbend in your upper back, but do not force it. Twist around your spine from your tailbone to the crown of your head.

  6. On each inhalation, lengthen your spine; and on each exhalation, twist deeper.

  7. Turn your head to gaze over your right shoulder.

  8. Hold for up to one minute.

  9. To release, exhale and unwind your torso. Come back to center and extend both legs in front of you in Staff Pose again. Repeat the twist for the same length of time on the opposite side.

For variations and modifications for the pose, visit YogaOutlet.com.


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