Named after one of the seven great Hindu sages (Bharadvaja), Bharadvajasana is a seated twist appearing in Iyengar and Ashtanga styles of yoga. Bharadvaja translates from Sanskrit to mean “bringing about nourishment”— and the suitably dedicated pose is considered nourishing to the spine and internal organs.
The intermediate posture, Bharadvajasana II, combines Half Hero Pose, Half Lotus Pose, and a bind to create a visually and physically satisfying twist.
Bharadvajasana I and II share the positive benefits of toning the core, stretching and strengthening the spinal muscles, increasing shoulder flexibility, and improving digestion. In addition, the lower half of the body gains flexibility and releases tension through the hip-opening aspects of the pose.
How to Do Bharadvajasana I
Begin in Staff Pose, seated with both legs extended and elongate through the spine.
Bend both knees and swing the heels to the outside of the right hip as the knees allow gravity to guide them towards the ground—almost as if you’re bringing the left leg into Easy Pose and the right leg nearly into Hero Pose.
Inhale and lengthen from the tailbone all the way up through the crown of the head.
On the exhalation, start to twist the torso to the left.
Hook the back of the right hand around the front of the left knee.
Inhale lengthening again, and on the exhale walk the left finger tips behind the back and around to the right.Finally, if the bind is accessible, wrap the left arm around the back and grasp the right bicep with the left hand. Gaze to the left.
How to Do Bharadvajasana II
Again, begin in Staff Pose, seated with both legs extended and elongate through the spine.
From here, bend the right knee bringing the leg into Half Hero Pose (by situating the right heel just outside of the right hip and resting the right shin on the ground).