Bharadvaja is one of seven legendary seers in the history of Yoga, credited with composing the hymns collected in the Vedas.
Bharadvaja’s Twist (also known as Bharadvaja I), popular in the Iyengar style of Yoga, is a gentle seated twist that helps alleviate lower back pain and improve digestion.
For those of us who may experience a high prevalence of the fiery Pitta dosha during Summer, digestion can be a huge issue. Pitta resides in the small intestine. Toxins can build up in this area. Twisting poses such as Bharadvaja I are a great way to ring out the digestive organs and pacify the raging Pitta within us.
Additionally, this pose can help relieve symptoms of sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome and is a great hip opener.
How to get into Bharadvaja’s Twist:
Sit on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you. Shift your weight onto the right glute while bending both knees and swinging your legs to the left.
As you deeply inhale, lengthen and straighten the torso.
On the exhale, gently twist your torso to the right, making sure that the left buttocks is staying on or very close to the ground. Slightly drop your tailbone to the ground to keep the lower back long and strong.
Tuck the back of your left hand underneath your right knee and bring your right hand behind your sacrum.
Keep the shoulder blades together as you continue to breath into the twist, lengthening with every inhale and inching the chest further right on every exhale.
If you have the space, you can wrap your right arm around your back and grab your right foot with that hand. If you feel any tension in the hip, knee or lower back, avoid this variation.
Stay in the pose for 5 to 10 expansive breaths, then release on the exhale. Return to the starting position, and repeat to the left with the same compassion for your body and for the same amount of time.
It is important to keep both hips rooted on the ground. If you find it difficult to keep the twisting-side buttocks firmly on the ground, prop that side up with a blanket.