How to Do Bharadvaja’s Twist Pose in Yoga (Guide to Bharadvajasana)

Bharadvaja twist pose may not be a yoga asana that you’re familiar with if you’re just starting on your yoga journey. If you’ve practiced it before, you’ll know that it’s great for the spine and that it also requires a certain amount of flexibility in the hips.

Because there are so many elements to this twist, you’re likely to feel a beautiful connection with your body once you’ve achieved it! And if you never achieve it, that’s ok too – we’ll walk you through a variation of bharadvaja twist that you might find more accessible at the end of this post.

“Bharadvaja twist pose is a fairly intricate asana that I would only recommend to those who can already comfortably practice lotus pose,” says Yoga Answered contributor Keira Shepherd. “When you do feel your way into this pose, you’ll feel deeply connected to your body.”

Bharadvaja Twist Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Bharadvajasana
Pose Type: Hip-Opening Yoga Poses, Seated Yoga Poses, Twist Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Intermediate pose
Targets: Spine, neck, shoulders, hips
Benefits: Strengthens the core muscles supporting your spine and increases flexibility in your hips.
Preparatory Poses: Child’s pose, lotus pose

How to Do Bharadvaja Twist Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Find a comfortable seat on your mat with your legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Bend your left knee to bring your foot to the outside of your left hip. You can also sit in a cross-legged style like in the above video to make the pose easier.
  3. Bend your right knee and bring your right foot to rest in your left hip crease.
  4. Inhale to reach your hands up to the sky.
  5. Exhale to twist to the right, bringing your right hand behind you to hold onto your right toes, and your left hand to rest on your right knee or thigh.
  6. Keep the chest open and the shoulders down.
  7. Repeat on the other side.

Beginner’s Tip

If, when sitting cross-legged, your knees are naturally higher than your hips, add a pillow or block beneath the sit bones to elevate your hips for this practice. You might also like to practice a few seated twists or side stretched to warm up the spine before moving into this pose.

As you twist, move from your core as opposed to forcing the twist with your hands. If you were to lift your hands, your body should stay in the same place! Use your exhales to move deeper into the twist.

Gaze over your shoulder following the natural shape of the twist to include a gentle neck stretch in your practice.

Contraindications

  • Avoid this pose if you have pain or issues with your knees.
  • If you have any neck pain, keep your neck aligned with your spine as you twist.
  • If pregnant, twist from your shoulders instead of your core – make sure that you only go to 70% of what you would normally consider to be your maximum twist.

Variation

Bring your right toes to connect with your left knee in front of you so that your right shin is lying on the floor. You can also add a pillow, block, or bolster underneath the sit bones to make this pose more accessible. As you twist, bring your right hand to the floor behind you.

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