Bharadvaja's Twist  -Bharadvajasana

Step by step

  • From a sitting position, bend your knees to the right and shift your feet to the left - so that your left ankle ends up resting in the arch of your right foot
  • Press your sitting bones to the mat to lengthen the spine as you inhale. Then with the support of your arms twist towards the right on an exhalation - your left hip may raise a little.
  • Turn your head and neck last, firmly pressing the fingertips of your right hand into the floor
  • Keep lengthening your spine as you inhale and explore the depth of your twist as you exhale, stay for a few breaths
  • To come out of this pose, release your hands, bring your torso to the front and straighten your legs
  • Repeat on the other side

Beginners tips

  • If your sitting bones are not firmly grounded, i.e. you are tilting onto the twisting side, try sitting up on a thickly folded blanket.

Benefits

  • Keeps your spine mobile
  • Massages the abdominal organs and improves digestion

Watch out for...

  • Ground your sitting bones to lengthen the spine, then allow your hips to follow your spine in the twist to some degree
  • Length in the spine is more important than the depth of the twist. 

Variations

  • For an easier version, sit sideways on a chair, with the back of the chair to your right. Bring your knees together and heels directly below the knees. Exhale and twist toward the back of the chair. Hold onto the sides of the chair and make the movement of trying to pull the chair apart.
  • You can increase the challenge further by changing the position of your arms and hands. Exhale and swing your right arm around behind your back as you twist to the right. Hold the left arm just at the elbow (if you can reach, otherwise take hold of your shirt). Turn your left arm outward and slip the hand under the right knee, palm on the floor.