Bharadvajasana I, also known as Bhardvaja’s Twist or Simple Sitting Twist Pose, focuses on building strength in your hips and shoulders along with your spine while stretching the torso, ankles, hips and knees.
The pose is an easy twist and one of the first to be learned to release tension in the spine and promote circulation to the abdominal organs. Bharadvajasana I inspire posture and body awareness.
|Bharadvajasana I, Simple Sitting Twist Pose, Torso Stretch Pose, Bharadvaja’s twist
|Lower backache, neck pain, sciatica, second trimester pregnancy
|Dandasana (Staff Pose)
|Bound Angle Pose, Supine Hand to Toe Pose, Utthita Trikonasana, Warrior Pose 2 Pose, Hero Pose, Tree Pose
|Baddha Konasana, Reclining Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose, Triangle Pose, Virabhadrasana II, Virasana, Vrksasana, Standing Forward Bend Pose, Paschimottanasana, Head-to-Knee Forward Bend Pose
|Low or high blood pressure, Ankle injury or knee injury (do gentle variation), Headache
Meaning + Origin
The Bharadvajasana is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of two words — Bhardvaja + Asana:
- “Bhardvaja” = “bringing about nourishment”
- “Asana” = “pose or posture”
The pose is dedicated to sage Bharadvaja who was one of the seven great Rishi. He was the father of Drona, a master of military art and the royal master of the Kauravas, Pandavas and the Devastras, the princes who fought in the great war of Mahabharata.
In the 19th century, a different posture is depicted by the name of Bharadvajasana in Sritattvanidhi; It somewhat resembles Peacock Pose with legs in Lotus Pose, but as it is stretched it would be impossible to perform.
The pose currently known as Bharadvajasana is a modern pose, first observed in the 20th century. It is described in the works of two of Krishnamacharya’s disciples, BKS Iyengar’s 1966 Light on Yoga and Pattabhi Jois’s Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
Benefits of Bharadvajasana I (Simple Sitting Twist Pose)
In the twist, your oblique muscles, which are part of your abdominal wall, must be flexible enough to bend and twist the torso in Bharadvajasana I. Thus, the strength and flexibility of these muscles improves with repeated practice of Bharadvajasana.
In this pose, while the spine receives a gentle bend from the base, the sacrum, the flow of prana along the spine, reduces tension. It promotes the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for ‘rest and digestion’, activities that occur when the body is at rest, especially after eating.
Bharadvajasana 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
Sitting with a satisfying bend on the spine is all that it demands to provide immense physical and mental benefits.
- Physical Benefits:
- Strengthen the hips, shoulders, elbows, and spine, hence good for arthritis patients
- Opens the chest and neck
- Increases circulation in the spine and abdominal cavity
- Stimulates the digestive and lymphatic systems
- Improves digestion
- Alleviates sciatica
- Relieves carpal tunnel syndrome
- Relieves low back, shoulders and neck discomfort
- Mental Benefits:
Steps to Bharadvajasana I (Simple Sitting Twist Pose)
- Sit on the left hip, bend your knees and bring both feet to the right of the hips. Point the right foot and place it on the arch of your left foot.
- Place your right hand on your left knee. Place your left hand behind you and come to your fingertips. Inhale and lengthen from the top of your head to the core of your lower abdomen. Keep the length, exhale and turn to the left.
- Walk your left hand behind your back and grasp the inside of your right upper arm. Put your right hand under your left knee, palm facing down. Inhale and lift-up from your pelvis through the crown of your head. Exhale and turn deeply to your left. Lengthen through the sides of the body. Pull your shoulder blades higher to your back to open up the front of your chest. Turn your head and gaze over the right shoulder.
- Hold on for a few breaths. Release and repeat on the other side.
Modifying Bharadvajasana I
Use folded blankets and blocks
After bending your knees, walk your feet toward your right hip. Place a folded blanket under your left buttock to align your pelvis. Also, place a block behind your back towards your right hip. Keeping your right hand under your left knee, twist your torso to the left. Now bring your left-hand back and rest it on the block.
Use yoga belt
Secure a loop from a yoga belt around the right upper arm. Sit with your knees bent and feet on your right hip. Extending your right hand, place your right hand under your left knee. From there, wrap your hand backward and hold the other end of the belt with your left hand.
Hand on the wall
For this, bend your knees like above and sit on the floor. Rotating your torso to the left, draw your right arm across your chest and rest your hand on the wall. Pull your left hand behind your back and place it on your sacrum. Turn your neck to the right to look over your right shoulder.
Sit on a chair, with the back of the chair to the left. Keep the feet on the floor. Grab the upper body with the hands towards the back of the chair. Extend the elbows outward. Slide the right hand to the left. Holding the edge of the seat, lift the left arm up to pull the arm back. You can raise the chest and lower the right hand towards the back of the seat.
Precautions and Contraindications
Here in Bharadvajasana I (Simple Sitting Twist Pose), most of the person balances the body on only one hip while taking the twist. This causes disturbances in the spinal cord. For better results, it is best to consult an expert while going for this yoga posture, to get better guidance while in the pose to get the maximum benefits.
It is best to play safe when practicing any pose, and keep the following precautions and contraindications in mind when practicing Bharadvajasana I:
Be safe and use caution when practicing this yoga pose with a hip injury, as the pressure is greater on one side of your hip when turning. Injuries to the hips will increase the pain and cause discomfort.
Lack of hips flexibility
The idea of this pose is not just twist, it is twist with proper alignment of spine and shoulders. Therefore, if your hips are raised off the floor while your torso is twisted, it is best to support your buttocks with a proper blanket.
Neck injury or cervical pain
Although this yoga asana is essentially good for cervical pain, it is best not to do it if one is in severe pain. It is also best to take guidance from an expert for this. Any kind of injury to your neck and shoulders should also be avoided, practicing Bharadvajasana I.
The Anahata Chakra in this yoga pose is said to be activated with gentle twists, and therefore anyone who is recovering from a heart condition should walk at a slower pace or seek the assistance of an expert, as one with a twist in breathing. Great role plays.
High blood pressure or low blood pressure
Since breathing plays an important role in twisting, holding your breath while twisting will cause discomfort, and therefore anyone suffering from blood pressure should take a slow walk during exercise or seek the help of a specialist.
- January 2015; Laxmipriya Dei, Sarvesh Kumar, Anjali Verma, Kamini Dhiman: Management of PCOS: A Psychosomatic Disorder by Yoga Practice