Bharadvajasana Gentle Spinal Twist or Rishi Twist

13 min read
Updated: March 26, 2023

Bharadvajasana, also known as Spinal Twist or Rishi Twist Pose, focuses on the dorsal and lumber areas of the spinal cord and helps to make the back supple.

The practice of this pose knees and shoulders became flexible, it is not very effective for elastic spinal cord, but arthritis will be blessed.

Experts also believe that the spinal twist is very beneficial for people with arthritis. The pose helps in gaining flexibility in the shoulder, releases tension through hip-opening aspects, and can help to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. This twisting pose tones the core, removes stiffness in the shoulders, massages the abdominal organs, activates the kidney, and improves digestion.

Meaning + Origin

The Bharadvajasana is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of two words — Bhardvaja + asana:

  1. Bhardvaja” = “bringing about nourishment”
  2. asana” = “pose or posture”

This asana is literally done by rotating the spine and massaging the internal organs, bringing fresh blood to them. Hence, it nourishes the spine and the bodily organs, hence the name.

Bharadvajasana is also dedicated to the great Hindu sage, Maharishi Bharadvaja, the father of Guru Drona. Bharadvaja was so fond of learning the Vedas that he devoted his three lives to study them.

Sage Bharadvaja was one of the Sapta Rishis who are believed to have attained immortality. It is said that he is assigned to guide mankind on earth in all the four Yugas.

In the Ramayana, when Rama went into exile, he took his first refuge in Bharadvaja’s ashram. Maharishi Bharadvaja had been waiting for Lord Rama for centuries, imagining that one day he would be able to meet God in human form.

His imagination turned into reality when he was able to meet Rama after continuous dedicated practice of philosophy. It symbolizes the Yoga Sutra that leads the practitioner to peace.

Apart from this, patience, calmness and devotion are required to achieve Bharadvajasana. All these personify the qualities of sage Bharadvaja, hence named after him.


Knwon as:Bharadvajasana, Easy Pose with Twist, Gentle Spinal Twist Pose, Rishi Twist I, Seated Spinal Twist Pose, Spinal Twist Pose, Sage Pose
Sanskrit name:भरद्वाजासन
Pose type:Twist
Total time:30-60 seconds
Over shoulder;
Eyes closed
Chakra:Anahata Chakra, Muladhara Chakra
Focus:Spine, shoulder, hips
Indications:Sciatica, lower backache, second trimester pregnancy, neck pain, digestion, circulation
Preparatory poses:Butterfly Pose, Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose, Utthita Trikonasana, Warrior 2 Pose, Hero Pose, Vrikshasana
Follow-up poses:Bound Angle Pose, Supine Hand to Toe Pose, Trikonasana, Warrior II Pose, Hero Pose, Tree Pose, Standing Forward Bend Pose, Seated Forward Bend Pose, Head-to-Knee Pose
Contraindications:Headache, low or high blood pressure, digestive discomfort, diarrhea, insomnia, menstruation

Benefits of Bharadvajasana

While practicing Bharadvajasana (Spinal Twist or Rishi Twist Pose), give yourself a break and get well refreshed. This pose helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can be beneficial for women suffering from menstrual disorders such as PCOD or painful periods. Doing this yoga pose can be beneficial for women suffering from endometriosis or menopause. 1

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Sitting with a satisfying bend on the spine is all that it demands to provide immense physical and mental benefits.

  1. Physical Benefits:
    • Stretches and strengthens the spine, shoulders, and hips
    • Stimulates the lymphatic system
    • Reduces discomfort from backache, neck pain, and sciatica
    • Improves digestion
    • Improves circulation
    • Relieves menstrual discomfort
  2. Mental Benefits:

Step-by-step Bharadvajasana with variations

With the gentle pose and variations of Bharadvajasana, the spine is fully rotated, releasing tension in the back, neck, chest and shoulders. It also increases the flexibility of the ankles, knees, hips, chest, rib cage, shoulders, neck. Follow the step-by-step instructions below and get the most out of it.

Gentle Spinal Twist or Easy Pose with Twist

Gentle Spinal Twist or Easy Pose with Twist - Sharp Muscle
Image: dr.anacandiand/Instagram
  • Start in Dandasana. Bend your left leg and place your foot close to the perineum.
  • Bend the right leg, and fold your foot in front of your left ankle, heels in line with each other. Root down through both sit bones and extend from the core of your pelvis to your spine.
  • Place the left hand on the right knee.
  • Place your right hand on the floor behind your back. Press your left hand into your right knee for extra leverage as you rotate. Maintain a strong foundation by rooting your sit bones into the floor. Pull your knees toward the core of your pelvis to stabilize the pelvis and sacrum. Inhale and lengthen your spine. Exhale and turn to the right. Generate a twist at the core of your pelvis, rolling the rotation upward through the spine. The last part of the turn is to turn your head to the right.
  • Stay in this pose as long as your breath is steady, then return to Step 3 and repeat on the other side.

Step-by-step Anatomy Engaging Techniques


  • Flex, abduct, and externally rotate your hip and femur to the side you’re rotating. This involves activating your psoas, gluteus medius, tensor fascia lata and sartorius.
  • Your psoas tilts the pelvis forward and rotates your thigh outward. Your sartorius flexes, abducts and externally rotates the femur.
  • Note the origin of your sartorius on the anterior superior iliac spine; This muscle helps your psoas to tilt your pelvis forward. This helps stabilize your lower body and counteract the twist of your upper body.


  • Bend your forearm and press your other hand into the floor using your wrist flexor carpi and pronator muscles.
  • Once your hand is fixed, try to “clear” it away from the body. Do this by engaging your biceps and brachialis muscles to bend your elbows, as well as your anterior deltoid and the upper (clavipectoral) part of your pectoralis major.
  • Combine these verbs with the actions described for your other hand. This is an example of co-activation of your muscles.


  • Flex your sartorius, abduct, and externally rotate your hip and leg femur with a hand that doesn’t hold your pelvis away from your upper body. See how this muscle feels like a rope running diagonally across your thigh.
  • Squeeze your buttocks on this side to turn your thigh outward by rotating your hip outward.
  • Activate your deep external rotators to tilt your pelvis back and down. This combines with the action of your psoas to create a “wrinkling” effect on your sacroiliac ligaments, tightening them and stabilizing your pelvis. Draw your knee toward the floor to engage your abductors. As you twist, your lumbar spine begins to bulge in the opposite direction to you.
  • Combat this trend by shrinking your equal-side quadratus lumborum.


  • Once you have grasped your opposite knee, bend your wrist by engaging your flexors carpi radialis and ulnaris to fix your palm.
  • Fold your forearm inward by contracting your pronoun teres and quadratus.
  • Then bend your elbows with your biceps and brachialis muscles.
  • Finally, activate your latissimus dorsi as if you are trying to pull your knee towards you. This involves a closed chain contraction of your latissimus dorsi.
  • These actions pull your shoulders and chest in the direction of the twist.
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  • Use closed chain contractions of your muscles that bind your shoulder blades (your rhomboids and serratus anterior) to rotate your chest like a tube.
  • Engage your serratus anterior to your back-hand side to stretch your chest into the twist.
  • Then look at your side by placing your hand on your knee. While contracting your rhomboids major and minor, pull this shoulder blade towards your midline.
  • Because your shoulder is attached to your hand (through your arm) and cannot move, the origin of your rhomboids (vertebrae) moves instead, emphasizing the twist.
  • These actions require practice, but once “awake,” they work well to coordinate the twists of your upper body in this pose.


All twists cause your ribs to collapse to some degree. This is because there is limited ability to rotate in your thoracic spine, which is tied to your ribs. Use the supporting muscles of your respiration to counteract this tendency. Begin by drawing your shoulder blades in toward your midline and fix them there. Then expand your chest by engaging your pectoralis minor and serratus anterior muscles.

Bharadvajasana I (Rishi Twist I or Sage Pose I)

Bharadvajasana I (Rishi Twist I or Sage Pose I) - Sharp Muscle
Image: yogarosa/Instagram


  • Sit on the floor with your legs straight. Bend the legs and bring both the feet near the left hip. Place the left shinbone in the arch of your right foot, and allow your knees to be about a foot apart.
  • Turn your chest, so your right knee is facing you, then lean back on both hands. Pull the abdominals in and bring the shoulders back.
  • As you inhale, lift and expand your chest, away from the waist; Then exhale and, while turning your head back, press your chest forward and up. Go up and up, like a fountain, let your head come back for the last time.
  • Take a deep breath, with emotion. Use your breath to expand the shape from the inside. Close your eyes, go in, feel – then express the meaning of the asana without any inhibitions. Inflate your chest towards the ceiling. Get round. Stay there for 30 seconds.
  • When you’re almost done, take a deep breath and as you exhale, slowly accelerate your energy through the pose. Then bring your head back to normal alignment.


  • Place your left hand on the right knee and your right hand on the floor behind you. Bring your navel slowly backwards towards the spine.
  • As you inhale, stretch the rib cage up, away from the waist, and as you exhale, roll your chest to the right. Do this over and over again, breathing deeply. Bring your chest to the max, shoulders back and ears down, flatten the shoulder blades into your back, pull with your left hand to help you twist, and lower your head to its natural outcome. Turn right side out. Spiral torso. Keep the navel firmly pointed back towards the spine, tighten the twist by fully turning your head, and look straight back towards infinity.
  • Close your eyes, breathe smoothly, and immerse yourself in the expressions of the asana. Experience yourself as a spiral curve of energy. Go in and be guided by the inner spirit, instinctively making subtle inner adjustments until your alignment feels accurate. Go where you feel best, where your energy flows best. Use your ability to feel it.
  • When you’re almost done, turn your head to the left. Take a deep breath, then exhale and rotate fully as you accelerate your energy for a few seconds – head left, torso right. Taste this part. Then release the stretch.
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Bharadvajasana II (Rishi Twist II or Sage Pose II)

Bharadvajasana II (Rishi Twist II or Sage Pose II) - Sharp Muscle
Image: instagram/cinti


  • Sit on the floor with the left foot in Hero and the right foot in Half Lotus Pose. Bring the right hand behind you and grasp the right leg. If you can’t hold the hold, use a belt to close the gap. Separate the knees until your thighs are at right angles with each other, then turn your chest toward the right knee. The plane through your shoulders will now be the same as your left thigh. Rest your left hand on the left knee.
  • Sit tall. Drive down through the perineum and sit bones to meet into the ground, lower fully to the ground, then arch your lower back and extend your spine upward. Allow your chest to expand while softening the shoulders back and bringing the navel back towards the spine. Do not lean forward on the frontal edge of the sit bones in your attempt to stand up; Which will create excessive dog snoring and cause you to go underground. Instead, align the torso and lengthen the core by moving the crown of the head and the sit bones away from each other, straight up and straight down.
  • Allow the lotus knee to rise off the floor, if necessary, to dislodge both the sitting bones and to land on the ground. Work toward keeping the knee flat on the floor—and remaining on the ground—as you pull upward through your spine and core. This will turn you deeper. Breathe smoothly. Adapt to this size. Stay here until your body asks for more, at least half a minute.


  • Lean back on your left arm by pulling the abdominals in and pulling the shoulders back.
  • As you inhale, lift and expand your chest away from the waist, then exhale and press forward while tilting your chest back. Turn your head and chest up, letting your head return to the last.
  • Take a deep breath, feeling it expanding the shape from the inside. Close your eyes, go in, feel – then intuitively express the meaning of the asana. Inflate your chest towards the ceiling. Get around. Stay there for 30 seconds.
  • When you’re almost done, take a deep breath and as you exhale, intensify your energy by pressing up against your chest and out through your chin. It sounds great. Enjoy what is happening. Then bring your head back to normal alignment.


  • Place the left hand on the right knee. Check that you are still on the ground, with both sitting bones pressing evenly into the floor.
  • As you inhale, lift and stretch the rib cage above the waist, and as you exhale, rotate to the right. Pull gently with both hands, roll both shoulders back, and squeeze the right elbow away from you. Keep chest lifted, bringing forward through shoulders. Turn the head and gaze over the right shoulder.
  • Bring the pose to life with your breath. Use your breath to lift and expand the chest—lengthen your core and spine even slightly. With your exhalation, twist deeply into the twist, even slightly—mentally. Immerse yourself in the rhythm and pulse of the breathing. When you can’t deepen the twist, stay where you are and get used to the stretch. Become more comfortable without losing the action of the pose. Stay there for 60 seconds.
  • When you’re almost done, turn your head to the left. Take a deep breath, then exhale and rotate fully as you accelerate your energy for a few seconds — head left, torso right. Get yourself out. Taste this part. Make it hilarious. Then release the stretch and do this process on the other side.

Precautions and contraindications

  • Your buttocks should touch the floor. Avoid any lift in the hips by sitting on a blanket while doing Bharadvajasana twists.
  • Keep your heart open while bringing the arm under the alternate knee.
  • Don’t forget to lift your ribs and keep your spine elongated.
  • Avoid this yoga pose if you are suffering from diarrhea.
  • Do not practice Bharadvajasana with a headache.
  • Individual with abnormal blood pressure should avoid it.
  • If you have insomnia problem, then leave this yoga asana.
  • Women should not do this yoga asana during menstruation.


  1. January 2015: Management of PCOS: A Psychosomatic Disorder by Yoga Practice[]

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