Bharadvaja’s twist

Yoga Poses

Bharadvaja’s twist Bharadvajasana


Begin in staff pose, with legs extending straight. Bend the left leg back to virasana. Slide the left knee away from the body.  Bend the right leg inward. Lift the right leg on top of left to ½ lotus. Turn the upper body and head to the right, reaching the right arm around the back waist to hold the toe. Extend the left arm up and over to hold the right knee. To exit the pose, release the bind and return to centre. Repeat other side.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

When lifting up through sternum, Imagine tailbone rooting down to the ground, a golden string threaded upwards along the spine through head crown to sky. As you ground buttocks and tailbone bone, the head crown is pulled upward, lengthening spine. When twisting, pisture your body like an action figure, the solar plexus is the center, the upper and lower body able to turn in opposite directions. Inhale, root the tailbone and lift the sternum, exhale, turn.

Technical Comments

Sit on the floor with legs straight out in front of you. Shift onto the right buttock and bend the left leg back to virasana. Shift to left buttock and fold right leg in bringing right foot sole to left knee. Place hands under the lower right leg and gently lift the foot and ankle onto left thigh. Draw the heel of foot close to left hip crease. Balance the sit bones evenly. Inhale and lift up from sternum to lengthen torso. Turn upper body to the right, left hand on right knee, right hand reaching around back waist to hold back toe. To deepen the pose, lengthen tailbone toward the floor, draw left shoulder back, press shoulders blades down and back. Eye gaze over right shoulder.

Benefit Comments

  • Stretches spine, shoulder, hips
  • Massages abdominal organs
  • Improves digestion
  • Relieves lower backache and sciatica
  • Relieves carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Relieves stress

Watch Out For:

  • Twisting knee (modify pose)
  • Knee raised off ground (place on blanket)
  • Knee pain (use chair method)
  • Back pain (sit on blocks and turn to comfortable or desist)


  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Pregnancy (caution)
  • Menstruation (caution)
  • Spinal injury


  • Place blanket or block underneath hip to even sit bones
  • Place folded knee on blanket
  • Use strap to hold toe
  • Hold elbow instead of toe
  • Place hand on block behind hips instead of toe
  • Place legs astride hips (animal resting pose instead of ½ lotus
  • Seated on a chair, cross right leg over other, bring right hand to back of chair, left to knee


  • Bend left leg, foot sole on floor

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Cobbler’s pose (Baddha konasana)
  • Extended triangle (Utthita trikonasana
  • Seated forward bend (Pachimottanasana)
  • Virasana (Heroes pose)
  • Tree pose (Vrkasana)
  • Warrior 1 (Virabharasana 1)
  • Warrior II (Virabharasana II)
  • Janu sirasana (Head-to-knee pose)

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

RYT 200 yoga teacher and journalist in Oxford, England. More information about Brenda can be found at

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