Asana of the Week: Bharadvajasana

This subtle, elegant twist is dedicated to Rishi Bharadvaja, author of large sections of the Rigveda, one of the most ancient scriptures known to humankind.

The leg position in Bharadvajasana is half Virasana (Hero Pose) and half lotus.  With the right leg in half lotus, wrap the right arm behind your back to bind the right foot and tuck the left hand under your right knee.  Once your foot is bound, press your left hand completely flat, lengthen your torso, and then open the chest as you twist to the right.  Stay for 5-10 breaths and repeat on the other side.

Bharadvajasana differs from most other seated twisting postures in that the arms are used very little to deepen the twist.  Rather, the muscles of the back and sides are held in contraction to support both the extension and the spiraling action of the spine.  Because the twist is relatively mild, this is a nice counter-posture to deep backbending and may be therapeutic for those with arthritis or other less serious spinal issues.

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