Bharadvajasana: Pose dedicated to the sage, Bharadvaja

Bharadvajasana: Pose dedicated to the sage, Bharadvaja


{ NOTE: this was previously Posted on November 5, 2010 here: }

Writing: Chrisandra Fox

Photography: Faern,


Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. -Cicero

In this month’s pose, ground yourself in the greatness of gratitude. Gratitude is that quality or feeling of appreciation and thankfulness for what we have. But what is great about gratitude is that it is available at any moment – arising spontaneously and sometimes conjured up with practice – to ground us in the power of awareness of the gift of the present moment.

We often feel grateful when we receive something we want, like a gift. However, as a mindful practice, we can cultivate gratitude for the abundance of life’s treasures – easy and difficult, sweet and bitter, ecstatic and mundane – to ground our awareness in an enduring inner state of peace that allows us to be more receptive to that which is impermanent.

In yoga practice, gratitude can help you acknowledge the larger context of practice, and guide you to an inner abode of humility and possibility for peace with where you are. From here, the asana practice unfolds not as a gainful attempt to get anywhere, but as a continuity of awareness and creative expression of skillfully harmonizing your individual life’s energy with the cosmic energies of the universe.

Twists help integrate the solar and lunar energies of the body and balance the nervous system. These equalizing poses strengthen the shoulders, hips and spine, and purify the digestive system by stoking the fires of agni, which improves metabolism of food, emotion, and experience, and provides heat for assimilation and transformation.

In twists, we compress and “wring out” the organs of the belly, pushing out the stagnant blood and stoking agni, our metabolic fires of transformation. When we release the twist, the organs are supplied with a fresh flow of blood and prana, and the digestive process is quickened, thus leading to purification. The heat of agni aids in our ability to “let go” of what is no longer needed, physically, emotionally and mentally and assimilate the absorption of nutrients, emotional clarity and change in perspective.

A practice involving twists like the beginner-level, open-belly Bharadvajasana, can leave you feeling calm, light, and more balanced, with ease of heart and peace of mind that inspires a natural flow of grace and an outpouring of gratitude.

The Pose

Sit in a cross-legged postion. Bring your hands together in prayer at the heart for Anjali Mudra. Take a moment to connect with your breath and the presence of your heart space. Contemplate 3 things for which you are grateful. Name each one and take a moment to feel the energy of emotion connected with your gratitude to these parts of your life.

Extend your legs to Dandasana (Staff Pose). Bend both knees, swing your lower legs to the left. Rest your left foot in the center of your right foot’s arch.

Inhale, and slowly draw length in your spine. As you exhale, twist to your right, walk your right hand behind your pelvis and place your left hand on your outer right thigh. Turn your palm to face up, and slide the back of your hand beneath your right thigh.

Keep your weight steady and grounded through your left buttock. If your left buttock lifts off the floor, place a folded blanket beneath your right buttock.

Draw both shoulder blades down on your back ribs to level your shoulders as you find the spiral wave of the twist from the base of your spine to the crown of your head. On each inhalation, draw length into your spine. As you exhale, twist more deeply to the right. Soften your belly to receive the twist. Allow your pelvis to turn with the twist to protect your sacral area. Keep your buttocks grounded.

You can turn your head in the direction of the twist, or turn your neck in the opposite direction, gaze to the horizon. For a deeper opening in the neck draw your right ear toward your right shoulder without straining the neck. Gaze toward the tip of your nose.

Stay for a minute or two to increase the potency of your twist. As you build inner fire, continue to abide in the equalizing calm and receptivity. Inhale and unwind your twist, turn back to center to unlock the gate to savor the greatness of gratitude.

Variation: Take your right hand to your left arm and take hold of the inner elbow. As you twist, draw your forearm into your back body, feel the pressure of your arm against your back muscles and kidneys.

Chrisandra Fox teaches weekly classes at Yoga Tree, Yoga Garden and leads The Heart of Renewal Retreats in California and beyond. She teaches in Yoga Tree’s 200-hour Teacher Training.

Faern is a mixed media artist, photographer and yoga practitioner in San Francisco. Visit her website, follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook.


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