Bharadvaja's Twist, or Bharadvajasana in Sanskrit, is a gentle and loving twist that inspires postural and body awareness. Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth yoga, fitness, & nutrition courses, when you sing up outside.
Bharadvajasana (Bharadvaja’s Twist) is a seated pose that strengthens and stretches your spine, neck, and shoulders.
It’s important to avoid doing this pose “head first”—in other words, tightening the muscles at the back of your neck, which can lead to headaches, upper back tension, and fatigue, says Denise Benitez, founder of Seattle yoga Arts. To test your head’s position, lift it upright and place the palm of one hand across the muscles at the back of your neck. If they’re hard and taut, bring your head back without lifting your chin. You’ll feel the muscles at the back of your neck soften.
To lessen the burden this posture places on your back and sacroiliac joints (they link your pelvis and lower spine), fold a blanket into quarters and position one corner of it so that it’s facing your right hip. Sit on the blanket with your right buttock, leaving your left buttock elevated off of the mat.Bharadvaja’s Twist basics
Bharadvaja’s Twist improves postural and body awareness and can help stimulate proper digestion by facilitating movement through the digestive tract (peristalsis). This pose may help relieve constipation through the benefits of movement and stimulation of the lower abdominal area, and relieve bloating and gas. Bharadvaja’s Twist strengthens your core and particularly the muscles supporting your spine, and stretches around your shoulders, your back muscles, front of your thighs (quadriceps), buttocks (glutes), and around your ankles.
If you tilt onto the twisting-side buttock, place a thickly folded blanket underneath it. Consciously sink both sitting bones toward the floor.