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  • Releasing the Lower Back and Cooling Down with

    baradvajrasana, sage pose, side view with hand on knee

    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.

    Hero and Pressing Your Sitting Bones Down

    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.

    Lotus and an Alternative for Lotus

    If you can't do Lotus, then an alternative is to place your foot against the inner thigh of the other leg.

    baradvajrasana, sage pose, easy version with foot to inner thigh

    See yoga kneeling postures for other options using this foot position.

    If you are doing Lotus,

    baradvajrasana, sage pose, preparation, placing foot in lotus
    baradvajrasana, sage pose, preparation, getting ready to reach arm behind back by reaching arm forwards
    baradvajrasana, sage pose, front view with hand on knee
    baradvajrasana, sage pose, side view with hand on knee
    • Try to keep the inside edge of your Lotus foot straight rather than caved in. (This can strengthen your ankle and prevent overstretching of the outside of your ankle.)
    • Try to place the blade of your foot in the crease where you thigh connects to your lower belly.
    • Position your heel so that it is pressing against the opposite side of your lower belly. (If your left foot is in lotus then place the heel against the right side of your lower belly.)
    • If your lotus knee doesn't touch the floor, you might want to place a yoga block or book beneath it.

    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.

    baradvajrasana, sage pose, front view with hand on knee

    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.

    Sequencing Suggestions for Bharadvajasana

    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.

    Seated Yoga Poses

    , If you are flexibility impaired, then one option for janu sirsasana side bend is to bend the knee of the leg you are bending towards. If you find that you tend to tip backwards you can also place the hand on the floor to the outside of the upward pointing knee. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , One option for a seated side bend is to sit with legs wide, knees straight and bend to one side. In this case both arms are reaching past the head adding weight to the stretch. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , One option for a seated side bend is to sit with legs wide, with one knee straight and the other knee bent with the shin folded to the outside of the thigh <br>(hero position). Bend towards the straight leg to stretch the side of the torso. In this case the top hand grabs the foot of the straight leg with the uppermost side of the ribcage rolling back. The lower shoulder is to the inside of the leg and pressing back against the leg.  Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , yoga for flexiblity, bound angle inner thigh stretch <br>(baddha konasana) with a 45 degree forward bend, hands grabbing the feet. Make the spine feel long from pelvis to head, push the feet into the floor and use the arms to pull up on the feet so that the ribcage moves down. In this picture my elbows point back. Model, Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , Hamstring stretches, wide leg forward bend. In this wide leg forward bend feet are a legs distance apart from side to side with feet parallel and knees straight. Upper body is tilted forwards with torso almost horizontal. Both arms are reaching forwards with hands off of the floor. Gaze is downwards. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , frog pose seated hip stretch. Sit with legs open 90 degrees. Keep one knee straight. Bend the other knee with the shin to the outside of the thigh <br>(hero position). Top of the foot or the inside of the foot can be on the floor. <br>(In picture, the inner foot is on the floor so that toes point outwards.) Turn midway between both thighs and slowly bend forwards. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , In seated forward bend, you can sit with legs parallel and knees straight. Tilting forwards at the hips, make the spine long <br>(from tailbone to crown) and reach the arms forwards. Make arms and legs and spine all feel long. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , In table top yoga pose, move the shoulder blades together. Reach the chest back <br>(towards the chin.) Press the feet down to press the pelvis up. In this picture the the head is slightly lifted. You could also relax the neck and let the head hang back. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , For reverse plank <br>(also called straight bridge or purvottanasana), move the shoulder blades together, reach the chest towards the chin and press the heels down into the floor to lift the pelvis. Keep the knees straight. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , Modified compass pose or Compass pose preparation is a seated hamstring stretch. From a cross legged position grab one foot with both hands, lift the floor and straighten the knee. Keep the neck long and chest lifted. Relax the shoulders to make it easier to straighten the knee. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , For compass pose, start from a seated cross leg position. Place one thigh behind the same shoulder. Press the hand into the floor. Grab the foot with the opposite hand. Keep the shoulder relaxed slowly straighten the knee and rotate the leg so that the knee points towards the side of the body. Press the other shoulder back against the leg. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , ardha matsyendrasana seated yoga pose. Step one leg over the other. Have foot just beside the other knee. In this picture the opposite arm is hugging the top knee. The other hand is on the floor behind the back. Both arms are being used to turn the ribcage and twist the spine. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , janu sirsasana a with head to shin and hand on the floor either side of the straight leg. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoa Poses. , Getting into Janu Sirsasana B seated yoga pose, Using hands to lift the hips and place anus on top of the bent knee heel. , janu sirsasana C, in this picture torso is upright with spine long. Foot is against the inner thigh with heel uppermost and toes tucked towards the knee. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , half bound lotus seated forward bend <br>(ardha baddha padmo paschimottanasana). Right foot is in lotus and bound with the right hand. Left hand is grabbing the left big toe. Torso is tilted forwards at the hips. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , bharadvajasana, one leg in lotus the other in hero. Lotus foot is bound with same side arm from behind the back. Hero side hand is on the lotus knee. Torso is twisting towards the lotus side. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , full lotus, hands on knees , Modified marichyasana position with non-marichyasana foot folded to the inside of the other foor. Torso is twisting away from the marichyasana side. Neil Kelher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , Marichyasana A from side, can see hand grabbing wrist behind back. , marichyasana C , marichyasana B from lotus leg side. Head off of the floor. , marichyasana D <br>(working towards binding) , triang muka eka pada paschimottanasana with hand grabbing wrist. three quarter front angle , reclining half hero pose <br>(ardha supta virasana), arms behind head , hero pose seated, upright, hands on floor. , reclining half hero pose, arms behind head

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