Bharadvajasana is a seated twisting yoga pose as well as a binding pose.
One of the reasons that I like this yoga pose so much, especially when grabbing my foot from behind my back, is that it tends to "release" my lower back. (Another good pose for "releasing the lower back" this is triangle pose.)
In Bharadvajasana one leg is in hero position with the shin folded to the outside of the thigh. The other leg is in lotus with the top of the foot on top of the other thigh.
Normally the twist is towards your lotus leg side. However, on occasion I twist towards the hero leg side.
Hero pose and Lotus Pose are "opposites." In lotus pose the thigh is externally rotated. In Hero pose the leg is internally rotated. Bharadvajasana has them both which gives it an interesting asymmetrical balance.
The first part of getting into bharadvajasana is folding your shin to the outside of your thigh in hero pose. If twisting to the right then fold your left shin in hero.
Prior to twisting and prior to putting your other foot into lotus you can sit tall with your ribcage facing the front. Lift your ribs and pull your head back and up.
If your hero side sitting bone is lifted try to shift your weight to that side and use the weight of your body to gently push your sitting bone down.
If putting your leg in hero pose causes knee pain then you can either forego this pose or try sitting higher on a block.
Once your hero leg is comfortable you can then work at placing your other foot in lotus.
If you can't do Lotus, then an alternative is to place your foot against the inner thigh of the other leg.
See yoga kneeling postures for other options using this foot position.
If you are doing Lotus,
All together, these adjustments, if done mindfully can help position your lower leg and thigh in such a way that your knee is kept safe.
Perhaps the most important thing of all to keep your knee safe when doing lotus or postures that involve lotus is to move into it slowly and mindfully.
Pay attention to your knee and listen when it talks.
With your legs positioned you can twist towards your lotus leg side, in this case to the right.
Reach your right hand behind you to grab your right foot. If you can't reach it you can use a towel, wrap it around your foot and grab the ends of the towel.
Place your other hand on your right knee. Make sure that your right knee is either on the floor or if this isn't comfortable, support it with a block or book. Then press down with your left hand to help lengthen your spine and ribcage up.
Make your right ankle (the lotus leg) strong and use it as an anchor for your right hand. Use your right hand to pull the right side of your ribcage back. You may find that your lower back "releases" as you do so.
Pull your head back and up and look behind you.
Control your body weight and use it to help keep your right sitting bone (hero side) pressing down.
Bharadvajasana, perhaps because of the combination of hero and lotus, tends to be a cooling down pose. As such I often like to use it towards the end of a practice or after something arduous like wheel pose.
It could also be used as part of a preparation for working towards full Lotus pose.
The seated get up is a way of getting into the one legged squat from a seated position. Even if you aren't interested in one leg squats this video does include tips on stabilizing the knees (at about the 5 minute mark.) Usual muscle activations for knee stability might include the quads, the hamstrings or any of the glutes. This looks at another set of muscles all together. If you like the video or find it helpful, please do share it! Thanks!
Some tips for learning how to do deep squats (without weight). The first tip is on how to stay balanced while squatting.
How do you learn the body weight safely? How do you work towards this pose even if you aren't sure if you are capable of doing it.
Basic yoga poses: standing, sitting, arm balances, binds, twists, inversions, back bending, front bends.
Scapular stabilization becomes a little bit harder when working agains the weight of the body. It can be easier to learn if you gradually increase the amount of body weight the scapular stabilizer muscles are working againsts..
Some hip flexor strengthening exercises.
These yoga poses can be used as arm strengthening exercises.
Turn yoga poses into leg strengthening exercises using floor pressing actions, leverage and friction.
One way of finding and fixing hip problems is to do standing hip strengthening exercises while balancing on one leg.
Knee anatomy for yoga teachers looks at the bones and muscles that comprise the back of the knee in simple terms.
Working towards a kneeling quadriceps stretch you first need to be able to kneel. If you have difficulty kneeling, you may find it helps to activate your quadriceps.
When doing quadriceps stretching it may help to activate and then relax your quadriceps in these standing, lunging, pigeon and supine yoga pose variations.
Some exercises and yoga poses for working towards a lying quadriceps stretch one leg at a time.
What are the benefits of the Dance of Shiva? Arm strength and balance, learning to learn and improving creativity.
This yoga routine video is designed to help you strengthen your arms and legs via the use of friction and pressure. It also teaches you how to become more aware of your body.
The transverse abdominis muscle can be broken down into three parts. Transverse abdominal exercises can thus affect the SI Joint, lumbar spine and the lower portion of the ribcage.
To improve the resiliency of your knees it can help to exercise them in a variety of positions. The following yoga poses can be used as knee strengthening exercises. The trick is to activate your knees while doing them.
Learn to consciously control your quads and hip flexors with Conscious Muscle Control: Quads and Superficial Hip Flexors. This downloadable video course teaches you how to feel and activate your quadriceps (the vastus muscles) as well as the rectus femoris, tensor fascae latae and sartorius muscles.
For any calf stretch you have to bend your ankle forwards to stretch the soleus and/or gastrocnemius. How you bend the ankle forwards can make the stretch more or less effective.
Yoga for flexibility with stretches for the hips, quads, hamstrings, glutes, psoas, shoulders and arms. These yoga stretches are designed to improve flexiblity.