Bharadvajasana (Bharadvaja’s twist): Meaning, Steps, Benefits

Bharadvajasana 1
Image Source: movement_in_space@instagram
Sanskrit PronunciationBharadvajasana
Pose TypeSitting twist
Pose LevelIntermediate
AnatomyLower back, hip flexors, knees, quadriceps, and wrists
Other NamesBharadvaja’s twist, Torso Stretch Pose
Bharadvajasana information

Spinal issues and muscular tension are the byproducts of a sedentary lifestyle. However, there is no need to worry anymore as yoga asana like Bharadvajasana has got your back!

Bharadvajasana is a seated spinal twist that is popularly known for its relieving and revitalizing actions on the back. Bharadvajasana is a combination pose that is performed in two ways by squeezing the spine.

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    It is done by folding the legs at the knee and bringing the feet beside the right hip. The right arm is stretched to place the hand underneath the left knee with the palm touching the floor. The right arm is wrapped around the back to clasp the right upper arm with the left hand.

    The twisting and bending become a bit more challenging when performed fusing with hero pose and half lotus pose, as in Bharadvajasana II. This makes the pose lie under beginner to intermediate level.


    People also refer to it as Torso Stretch Pose, Bharadvaja’s Twist, or seated spinal twist.

    The pose has miraculous effects for arthritis patients as it fortifies the spine, hips, knees, and other joints.

    Meaning and Interpretation

    Bharadvajasna is a composite Sanskrit term formed by the following two root terms:

    • “Bhardvaja” means “bringing about nourishment”
    • “Asana” is “pose”

    The pose is performed laterally twisting the spine and massages the internal organs which bring fresh blood to them. Therefore, it nourishes the spine and anatomical organs, hence the name.


    Bharadvajasna is also dedicated to the great Hindu sage, Maharishi Bharadvaja, father of Guru Drona. Bharadvaja was so passionate about learning Vedas that he spent his three lifetimes studying them.

    Sage Bharadvaja was one of the Sapta Rishis who are believed to attain immortality. It is said that they are assigned to guide the human race on Earth throughout all four ages.

    The mythological tale behind Bharadvajasna

    In Ramayana, when Rama went to exile, he took his first refuge in Bharadvaja’s ashram. Maharishi Bharadvaja was waiting for Lord Rama for ages, visualizing that one day he would be able to meet the divine in the form of a human.

    His visualization turned into reality when he was able to meet Rama after his continued devoted practice of visualization. This signifies Yoga Sutra that leads the practitioner to tranquility.

    Apart from this, attaining Bharadvjasasna requires patience, calm, and devotion. All these express the qualities of Sage Bharadvaja, therefore named after him.

    To practice Bharadvajasana, visualizing the spine as a washcloth held by two hands would help. The tiring forces and trapped tension in the body are taken as soapy water on the washcloth. Imagine your exhalation as the two hands squeezing the washcloth to remove soapy water and inhalation as rinsing it with clean water. This way the mechanism and cleansing motive of Bharadvajasana would be accomplished.

    Bharadvajasna Practice Guide


    • Avoid this pose if you are suffering from diarrhea.
    • Do not practice the pose with a headache.
    • People with abnormal blood pressure must avoid it.
    • If you are someone having insomnia then skip the pose.
    • Women must not perform the pose during menstruation.

    Preparatory Poses

    Gaining some flexibility in the back and hip muscles makes it easier to step into Bharadvajasana. Perform the following poses to prepare the body for the lateral twist.

    Bharadvajasna Steps

    1. Begin with sitting in dandasana.
    2. Bend the knees to bring the leg backward placing the knees on the floor.
    3. Bring your feet to the right side beside the right hip and let the buttocks rest on the floor. The position of the legs is such that the right inner ankle lies in the arch of the left foot.
    4. Twist the torso at 45 degrees to the left, stretching the right arm outside the left thigh near the left knee.
    5. Insert the right hand under the left knee with fingers pointing to the right and palm touching the floor.
    6. Exhale swiveling the left shoulder draw the left arm behind the back.
    7. Bending the left elbow clasp the right upper arm with the left hand across the back.
    8. Turn the neck to the right gazing over the right shoulder.
    9. Stay in the twisted pose for 30 minutes breathing deeply.
    10. Release the handgrip and come back to the center. Straighten the legs and repeat the pose switching sides, arms, and legs’ position.


    1. The buttocks must touch the floor. Avoid any lift in the hips by sitting on a blanket while performing the seated twist.
    2. Keep the heart open while bringing the hand under the alternate knee.
    3. Do not forget to lift the ribs and keep the spine elongated.

    Follow-up Poses

    • Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
    • Reclining Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)
    • Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
    • Warrior Pose II (Virabhadrasana II)
    • Hero Pose (Virasana)
    • Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
    • Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
    • Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
    • Head-to-Knee Forward Bend (Janu Sirsasana)

    Props and Modifications

    The twist in Bharadvajasna can be modified using following props;

    • Folded blanket and block – After bending the knees to shift the feet towards the right hip. Place a folded blanket under the left buttock to align the pelvis. Also, put a block behind the back towards the right hip. Twist the torso to the left placing the right hand under the left knee. Now bring the left arm to the back and rest it on the block.
    • Yoga strap – Secure a loop out of a yoga belt around the right upper arm. Sit with flexed knee and feet to the right hip. Stretching the right arm place the right hand under the left knee. From there wrap the hand around the back and hold the other end of the belt from the left hand.
    • Hand on the wall – For this, sit with a bent knee on the floor as above. Twisting the torso to the left, draw the right arm across the chest and rest the hand on a wall. Drag the left arm behind the back and place it on the sacrum. Turn the neck to the right to look over the right shoulder.
    • Chair – Sit on a chair sidewise having the back of the chair on your left. Firm your feet to the floor. Turn the upper body to the back of the chair with hands holding the top of it. Spread your elbows outwards. Slide your right hand towards the left. Lift the left hand to draw the arm to the back holding the edge of the seat. Keeping the chest lifted you can lower the right hand to the back of the seat.


    After attaining the first version, if you find that your hips are flexible enough, try the advanced variation keeping one leg in Ardha padmasana.

    Bharadvajasana II

    Bharadvajasana II
    Image Source: Shutterstock
    • Begin in dandasana.
    • Flex the left knee to place the foot on the right thigh’s root.
    • Bend your right knee to place the right foot beside the right hip.
    • Draw the left arm to the back to hold the left foot with the left hand.
    • Straighten the right arm to insert the right hand under the left knee.
    • Twist the torso to the left and hold the left foot firmly.
    • Turn the neck either to the left or right as per your convenience and look beyond the shoulder.

    Therapeutic Benefits

    1. Bharadvajasana stretches the thighs, hips, therefore, beneficial in curing sciatica.
    2. The pose strengthens the knees, hips, elbows, and other joints, thus beneficial for arthritis patients [efn_note] The Effect of Yoga Therapy on Arthritis and related Joint pain [/efn_note].
    3. It has a relieving action on stiffness or pain in the neck, back, and shoulders.
    4. Stretching the neck muscle strengthens the cervical spine. Hence it is a beneficial stretch to relieve cervical pain.
    5. It is also helpful in treating carpal tunnel syndrome.
    6. This spinal twist is also soothing to the nervous system, hence relieves stress.
    7. Women suffering from hormonal imbalance or PCOS find Bharadvaja’s twist curative [efn_note] Management of PCOS: A Psychosomatic Disorder by Yoga Practice [/efn_note].

    Bharadvajasana Benefits

    1. Improves the hip and shoulder strength – Bharadvajasana is a gentle spinal twist that opens the hips and shoulders. It expands these muscles and brings fresh blood to them. Thus, enhances the shoulder and hip flexibility and boosts their strength.

    2. Improves spine flexibility – Modern lifestyle usually makes us spend most of our working hours in a seated pose. This deteriorates the natural spinal shape and structure. Thus, such a lateral stretch of Bharadvaja’s twist is a must to rejuvenate the back muscles and increase flexibility.

    Besides this, it is beneficial for pregnant women to strengthen the lower back.

    3. Stretches the leg muscles – In this pose, the legs are kept folded which stretch the hamstrings, calves, and knees thereby, improving blood flow. Hence, it expands these muscles and strengthens the leg muscles.

    4. Stimulates abdominal muscles – The lateral twisting of the pose strengthens the core muscles. It stretches the abdominal muscles and tones the abdomen. The oblique muscles are expanded and become strong. It also massages the internal organs, thus improves digestion.

    5. Enhances metabolism – Along with twisting the spine, Bharadvajasana also involves neck twisting. It stimulates the thyroid gland responsible to maintain body metabolism.

    6. Improves efficiency of reproductive organs – Performing this pose involves twisting the lower abdomen. It squeezes the reproductive organs and enhances the supply of blood. It optimizes hormonal secretion.

    7. Benefits the respiratory system – Bharadvajasana is performed opening the chest and shoulders. It expands the lung’s volume and enhances the intake of oxygen. This elevates breathing capacity thus improves the respiratory system.

    9. Activates the root and heart chakra – The twist involves in Bharadvajasana open the heart, thus activating the Anahata Chakra. This brings positive feelings like self-acceptance and love. Along with this, the pose gives better grounding and stability, hence stimulates the Muladhara chakra.


    Give yourself a pause and rejuvenate thoroughly practicing Bharadvajasana. Sitting with a satisfying twist on the spine is all that it demands to provide immense physical and mental benefits.

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