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

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

Bharadvaja’s Pose II is dedicated to sage Bharadvaja. He was one of the 7 great sages. 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 = Sage Bharadvaja
Asana = pose

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’s Pose II is a variant and deeper practice of Pose I. It is a beginner level asana. It is seated hip opening twist. It has positive effects on your spine, lower back, hips, abdomen and neck.
Read – Health Benefits Of Yoga: Mind And Body

Preparation for Bharadvaja’s Pose II

  • This pose shall be done preferably early morning on empty stomach.
  • One should take food 3-4 hours before food if this pose is practiced at some other time instead of morning. This will keep the stomach empty by the time of practice and also will provide energy to do the asana.
  • The practitioner should keep the bladder and bowel empty while performing the pose.
    Read – Akarna Dhanurasana – Archer’s Pose, How To Do, Benefits

Method of doing

Positioning for the pose

Sit in Dandasana with legs extended in front of you, torso at right angles to legs, hands placed comfortably beside the body. Back is straight; pelvis is neutral with hips in a straight line. Shoulders and chest are open. Head and neck are long and relaxed.

Performing the pose

Now bend left leg at the knee and come to half vajrasana – diamond pose or half virasana – hero pose. Sit on floor grounded well on both sitting bones. Open the bent knee and pushing it little away from the center bring toes little in.

Now bend right leg and place right foot on the top of left thigh such that foot is placed on the inner part of the thigh near the left groin. The toes are pointing out, sole facing up and heel pointing towards navel. Right leg is now in Ardha Padmasana i.e. half lotus pose.

Now place left hand beneath right knee bringing it across. Alternatively you may also keep it on right knee.

  1. Now place right hand behind and in line with the right butt, at a little distance from the butt. At this point it is important to keep shoulders in one line. Check for that and accordingly align the placement of right hand. You may press the floor with fingers or place palm on the floor so as to bring right shoulder in line with left one. This will also help in lengthening spine. You may also use a blanket or block to place right hand. If you want to increase stretch you may also place right hand little behind in the line of spine instead of keeping it in line with right butt. Don’t allow left shoulder to fall in front. In fact you can push it a little back and keep it aligned with the right shoulder.

Inhale and as you exhale slowly turn / twist. As you inhale lift up from sternum and as you exhale turn. 

Twist part by part from pelvis, then from the chest and then shoulders.

Finally turn head and look back / right (Look over right shoulder as much as you can without straining neck).

In this position take deep breathes slowly and stay in the final pose for 30-60 seconds.

  • If flexibility allows you can go for the full pose. Take right hand around back and reach out to right foot. Hold the right foot with right hand as you twist from pelvis to shoulders.

Inhale and as you exhale slowly turn / twist. As you inhale lift up from sternum and as you exhale turn. 

Twist part by part from pelvis, then from the chest and then shoulders.

Finally turn head and look back / right (Look over right shoulder as much as you can without straining neck).

In this position take deep breathes slowly and stay for 30-60 seconds.

Release from the pose –

  • Release right foot from the grasp of right hand. Bring right hand forward as you release part by part from head to shoulder to the chest to the pelvis. Turn around and come to the center.
  • Place right hand beside body on the floor.
  • Release left hand from underneath knee. Swing back left hand to left side and place it on the floor.
  • Remove right leg from left thigh and extend it gradually.
  • Now finally release left leg from the half hero pose and extend it.
  • Sit back in the staff pose.
  • Breathe easily and relax.
  • Now repeat the same steps on left side.
    Read – Virasana – Hero Pose, How to do, Benefits, Side Effects, Precautions

Key points to note –

Once you are sitting with combined half hero and half lotus pose you should make sure that you are sitting on butt bones. You should use a block or folded blanket if you feel that you want a lift. The aim is to keep pelvis at neutral position and also to keep the hips in one straight line. See that you don’t fall to front too much or to the back. This would happen if thighs and hips are not flexible. In this condition you may use the props instead of pushing yourself into doing the full pose out of capacity.

Twisting by portions – While you twist around make sure to twist step by step. First you should twist from pelvis, then from chest and then from shoulders. You should take care that hips are in straight line and so does shoulders. You should focus on spine while making the twist. Lift up sternum as you inhale and exhale with every twist / twist with every exhale. Finally you should turn head around and look back keeping head and neck straight. Release in the same pattern but in a reverse way.
Read – Sethu Bandha Sarvangasana – Shoulder Supported Bridge Pose – How To Do, Benefits

Watch this video to follow the method of doing Bharadvajasana II Pose
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z43c1aeAMeM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PneqOh9TvzI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpGtitqklq8

Health Benefits

  • Stretches shoulders, hips, spine and laterals / flank
  • Brings flexibility to knees, ankles and feet
  • Increases mobility in shoulders and spine
  • Strengthens the muscles of arms, shoulders, lower and middle back, hips, knees, neck, hamstrings and Psoas
  • It focuses awareness on spine
  • It is good for those suffering from lower back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome and neck pain
  • Gives massage to the abdomen and organs therein
  • Improves digestion
  • Relieves stress and anxiety

Build Up Poses

  • Marichyasana – Sage Twist
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana – Seated Half Spinal Twist
  • Ardha Padmasana – Half Lotus Pose preparations
  • Bitilasana – Cow Posture

Counter Poses

  • Purvottanasana – East Stretch Posture (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
  • Paschimottanasana – Double Leg Forward Stretch
  • Navasana – Boat Pose
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose

Preparatory Poses

  • Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose
  • Supta Padangusthasana – Reclining hand-to-big toe pose
  • Utthita Trikonasana – Extended Triangle Pose
  • Vrkshasana – Tree Pose
  • Virasana – Hero Pose
  • Virabhadrasana II – Warrior Pose II

Follow Up Poses

  • Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose
  • Janu Sirsasana – Head to knee forward bend
  • Paschimottanasana – Seated forward bend
  • Supta Padangusthana – Reclining hand-to-big toe pose
  • Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend Pose
  • Utthita Trikonasana – Extended Triangle Pose
  • Vrkshasana – Tree Pose
  • Virasana – Hero Pose
  • Virabhadrasana II – Warrior Pose II

Modifications

If you cannot hold right foot with right hand you may finish by keeping right hand on the ground adjacent to right butt or in the line of spine (towards the left when you do it on that side).

You may also hold the strap wrapped around right foot (or left foot while doing it on the opposite side).

Beginner’s tip

It is difficult to balance yourself in the pose by putting the weight of body entirely on the twisting side, especially if you are a beginner. You may end up tilting on that side. This will lead to compression of the lower back. To avoid this use a thick folded blanked beneath butts so as to allow them to rise. Then you can sink butts towards the floor consciously.
Read – Ardha Halasana – Half Plough Pose, How to do, Benefits

Time spent in doing Bharadvajasana II 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 pose mainly balances the below mentioned Chakras –

Manipura Chakra – Navel Chakra
Swadisthana Chakra – Sacral Chakra
Muladhara Chakra – Root Chakra

Therefore it is also said to balance the fire, water and earth elements related with these chakras respectively.

It mainly balances pitta and kapha doshas.

Contraindications, Precautions

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

  • Severe hip injury
  • Severe back injury
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Low blood pressure
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia

Caution

Pregnant women should practice this pose with caution and under supervision.
Avoid this pose during menstruation.

Those with carpal tunnel syndrome too should practice this pose with caution and should not push to perform the pose beyond one’s capacity.

Don’t allow leg in half Virasana to move away too much from the centerline of the pose. To protect knee from injury, keep the leg in line with the hip of that side.

Don’t allow leg in half Padmasana lift off the floor. When this leg hangs unsupported you will have a risk to injure hip, knee and ankle. Instead, add support or just come out of the pose.
Read – How To Do Pranayama – A Simple Pranayama Technique

Impact of Bharadvajasana II Pose 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 samana vata, pachaka pitta, and kledaka kapha. It also relieves stress. Therefore it is helpful in balancing and calming 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. It is also a good exercise for the bones.

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

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