Seated Twist Position (Bharadvajasana I)
Type : Sitting
Justification : Lateral Extension (twisting movements)
Complimentary Posture: Self complimentary
Physical Benefits : Relieves lower back-ache, neck pain and sciatica. Stretches the spine, neck, shoulders and hips. Strengthens the core muscles and massages the abdominal organs. Improves digestion. Effective in second trimester of pregnancy for strengthening and releasing lower back.
Therapeutic Benefits : Restores balance and equanimity to the body and mind. Helps relieve stress. Regulates the metabolism and stimulates the abdominal organs. Relieves arthritis and rheumatism. Therapeutic effects for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Limitations : Avoid if you have insomnia, diarrhea, headache, high or low blood pressure or menstruation. People who have undergone recent abdominal surgery!
How To Practice : Sitting on the floor in Dandasana (Staff Pose), legs stretched out in front of you, hands next to hips, arms straight, shoulders rolled back and spinal column long and erect.
Bend your knees and swing both legs to the left, feet next to your hip. Place the back of the left foot in the arch of the right foot making sure the little toe is pressed into the floor. This is your ‘rudder’ ! ; -)
Observe that both knees are as aligned as possible.
Slide a folded blanket under the right buttock to rectify and align both hips. On the inhale, lengthen your spine towards the ceiling as much as possible and as you exhale start twisting from the waist up towards the right side, placing the right hand just behind the right buttock and pressing the back of the left hand into the right thigh just above the knee. Make sure that both buttocks are firmly anchored into the ground- the left one will tend to lift up.
On each inhale lengthen the spine a bit more and on the exhale go deeper into the twist.
Finally turn your head towards the right and look over your shoulder and breathe 3 breaths before coming back to Dandasana. Repeat on other side.
Bharadvajasana II : This is an advanced variation that requires more mobility in the hips, in which one leg is positioned in Padmasana (Lotus) while the other is in Virasana (Half Hero Pose) and the forefinger and thumb catch the toes of the foot in Padmasana from behind the back or catch the arm at the elbow or even use a belt to catch the arm.
Bharadvajasana in a Chair : This variation is done sitting sideways in a chair using the seat-back to provide a gentle leverage for the arms to help with the twist. (as seen in my capsule ‘Shoulder & Neck Relief’)