Bharadvajasana I – Sage Bharadvaja’s Pose I, How To Do, Benefits

By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S

Bharadvajasana I pose is dedicated to sage Bharadvaja, one of the 7 great sages and hence the name. It is also called as Bharadvaja’s twist. It is a twisting pose and is also a seating spinal twist. It is of two types – type I & type II. Bharadvaja’s Pose I is the basic form. In this the legs are articulated in Hero’s Pose (Virasana) dropped to one side, one foot on the floor and the other’s ankle cradled in the arch of the foot below. It tones up the spine and abdominal organs apart from giving them a good twist in seated position.

Bharadvaja = Sage Bharadvaja
Asana = pose
Read – Virasana – Hero Pose, How to do, Benefits, Side Effects, Precautions


Preparation for Bharadvaja’s Pose 1

  • This pose shall be done on empty stomach and preferably early in the morning.
  • If done at evening one needs to take care to take food 3-4 hours before the pose. By the time the pose is done the stomach becomes empty and the practitioner would gain energy from the consumed food to perform the pose.
  • The bladder and bowel need to be kept empty while performing the pose.

Method of doing

Positioning for the pose

Sit on the floor in Dandasana – ‘staff pose’ with legs straight in front of you.

Performing the pose

Shift onto your right butt.
Now bend your knees. Swing your legs to the left.
Lay both your feet on the floor outside your left hip / butt. Arrange your feet such that your left ankle is resting in the arch of the right foot.
Inhale.
Lift through the top of the sternum and lengthen the front of your torso.
Exhale.

Twist your torso to the right while keeping your left butt on the floor. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. This will keep your lower back long. Soften your belly.

Now tuck your left hand under your right knee. With this bring your right hand to the floor just behind your right butt.

Twist step by step. First twist your waist / pelvis keeping the hips in one straight line. Don’t swing to the front or back too much. Next twist your chest and then the shoulders.

Continue to twist the chest to the right with exhalation. Pull your left shoulder back slightly pressing your shoulder blades firmly against your back as you twist. The shoulders should be in line with each other.

Finally turn and twist your head gradually to the right and look back. The right hand pressed to the floor helps you to take the twist easily.

Inhale as you lengthen your spine and twist your torso to the right with exhalation.

(With every inhalation lift a little more through the sternum with the help of your right fingers / hand pushing the floor. With every exhalation twist a little more, step by step as said above.)

Be in this position for 30 seconds to 60 seconds.
Read – How To Do Pranayama – A Simple Pranayama Technique

Release from the pose

  • Gradually release from the pose with exhalation.
  • Release your right hand and then your left hand.
  • Release step by step, your head first, then your shoulders, then your chest and then your pelvis and come back to the center.
  • Gradually release your legs and come back to the dandasana.
  • Relax and breathe easily.
  • Now repeat the same steps on the left side for the same length of time.

Deepening the Pose

You can deepen the pose and challenge yourself ahead by making variations in the position of your arms and hands.

As you twist to your right, exhale and swing your right arm around your back. Try to reach your left hand and grip the left elbow with your right hand. You can also hold a strap looped around your left elbow if you cannot reach with your right hand. Then turn your left arm outward and slip the hand beneath your right knee.
Read – Types Of Pranayama – Effect on Health – Through An Ayurveda View-Point

Variations

Bharadvajasana II

Sit in staff pose. Exhale and draw your left leg into hero pose. Then bring your right leg into lotus pose. Twist to the right. With your left hand grip the outside of the right knee. With exhalation swing your right arm around behind your back and grip the right foot.

Watch this video to follow the method of doing Bharadvajasana I Pose
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fC38wmAgG3U
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zya3rTu4Ycs

Health Benefits

  • Stretches the spine, shoulders and hips
  • Relieves lower backache, neck pain and sciatica
  • Massages your abdominal organs
  • Improves digestion
  • Relieves stress
  • Strengthens the lower back when done with caution and under supervision in the second trimester of pregnancy
  • Good for those having carpal tunnel syndrome

Preparatory Poses

  • Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose
  • Virasana – Hero Pose
  • Virabhadrasana II – Warrior II Pose
  • Utthita Trikonasana – Extended Triangle Pose
  • Supta Padangusthasana – Reclining Head to Big Toe Pose
  • Vrkshasana – Tree Pose

Follow Up Poses

  • Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose
  • Virabhadrasana II – WarrioR II Pose
  • Utthita Trikonasana – Extended Triangle Pose
  • Supta Padangusthana – Reclining Head to Big Toe Pose
  • Janu Sirsasana – Head-to-knee Forward Bend Pose
  • Paschimottanasana – Seated Forward Bend Pose
  • Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend Pose
  • Vrkshasana – Tree Pose
  • Virasana – Hero Pose
    Read – Ardha Baddha Konasana – Half Bound Angle Pose, How to do, Benefits

Modifications

You can use a chair as a prop to make this pose easy to practice.

  • Sit sideways on a chair.
  • Let the back of the chair be to your right.
  • Bring your knees together and your heels directly below your knees.
  • Exhale.
  • Twist towards the chair back.
  • Hold on to the sides of the chair back. Lift your elbows up and out to the sides.
  • Use your arms to help widen your upper back.
  • Move the twist into the space between the shoulder blades.
  • Release back in the same way.
  • Repeat the steps on the opposite side.

Beginner’s tip

Sit on a thickly folded blanket if your body is tilting onto the twisting side butt which compresses your lower back. Sink both sitting bones towards the floor consciously.

Time spent doing Bharadvajasana I Pose

Be in the pose for 30-60 seconds. You need to perform the pose for the same duration even on the opposite side.

Impact on Chakras

This Chakra is said to open the Muladhara Chakra – the root chakra. This provides grounding and a sense of security and safety. It also opens up the Anahata Chakra – the Heart Chakra. This Chakra is associated with love, self esteem, acceptance and compassion.
Read – Chakra – Kundalini: Introduction, Meaning, Types, Location, Ayurveda View

Contraindications, Precautions

Patients suffering from below mentioned conditions should avoid doing Bharadvajasana I Pose –

  • Diarrhea
  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Headache

Caution

Women should not practice this pose during menstruation.

Impact on doshas and tissues

Impact on Doshas and its subtypes – This pose massages the abdominal organs and improves digestion. Therefore it is good to balance pachaka pitta, samana vata and kledaka kapha. The pose relieves stress and is therefore helpful in balancing prana vata, vyana vata, sadhaka pitta and tarpaka kapha.

Impact on tissues – Since the pose stretches and relaxes the muscles and joints, it is beneficial for muscle tissue and joints.

Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)

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