In yoga, several poses are specific to the various needs of the human body, targeted at achieving the optimum capacity for the functioning of the human biological system. One such pose is called Bharadvajasana, or Bharadvaj's twist, dedicated to the saptarishi Bharadvaja, the father of Drona, who was the teacher to the Pandavas and Kauravas in the great Indian epic Mahabharata. The Bharadvajasana is a seated spinal twist that directly improves bodily awareness and digestion by inducing movement through the digestion tract and strengthening the neck, shoulders and spine. It can be a great way to enhance the gut health of people experiencing problems such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) while improving the upper body muscles with a relaxing stretch.
Here, fitness expert Meenakshi Mohanty tells us how to perform Bharadvajasana, its health benefits and precautions one should take.
Begin by sitting in the staff position with your legs stretched out in front of you.
Lean on your right side and fold your legs, tucking the right leg under your glutes so that your weight falls on the outer part of the right thigh. Next, cross the left leg over the right, placing the left foot in the arch formed by the right.
Place your sitting bones firmly on the floor to lengthen the spine, inhaling slowly and deeply and imagining a central axis running through your torso from the crown of your head down to the pelvic floor. Then, with the help of your hands, gradually twist the torso to the right while exhaling.
Turn your head and neck last, and hold the position for a few breaths.
For disengaging from the pose, stop exerting pressure with your fingers and bring your torso to the front. Lastly, spread your legs to come out of the position.
Repeat for the other side.
Form and execution are vital aspects to consider when exercising, not only because they ensure optimum results but also because they avoid the dangers of injury. Bharadvajasana's execution entails specifics that every fitness enthusiast and yoga practitioner must consider. If you experience trouble balancing, place a thickly folded blanket or mat under. The pose focuses on the spine's mobility, but the appropriate execution is lengthening it. The depth of the twist is secondary, and the focus should lie on the vertical stretch of the spine while allowing the hip to move along horizontally. It is also important not to unnecessarily put pressure on the shoulders and neck; they must remain relaxed.
Precautions Beginners Need To Take
For beginners, a variation of the Bharadvajasana pose is to sit on a chair while executing the twist instead of being directly seated on the floor. First, bring the preferred side to lean on the chair while keeping your knees together and getting your heels under your knees. Then, exhale and twist towards the back of the chair while holding on to the backrest and making the movement of trying to pull the chair apart. For more experienced practitioners, the Bharadvajasana can be more challenging simply by deepening the twist, bringing the right leg over and above the left thigh, or vice versa, depending on the preferred side.
Health Benefits Of Bharadvajasana
The Bharadvajasana is a great way to work your shoulders, back muscles, quadriceps of the thighs, glutes and the muscles in your ankles. This pose also effectively produces results that help relieve issues such as bloating or gas. So, the Bharadvaj twist, with all of its benefits and ease with which one can execute it, is a must in your weekly exercise routine to build postural awareness and improve digestion.