Bharadvajasana – the Mermaid Pose for a Smooth Back

Bharadvajasana or mermaid pose is also called braid pose or Bharadwaj’s twist and comes in two variants (I and II). This sitting position is perfect for your back.

It strengthens and relaxes the muscles around the spine and shoulders. But the attitude has even more advantages! Are you curious about how to perform this pose and what exactly should you pay attention to?


In this blog, you will discover, among other things:

  • How to perform bharadvajasana
  • What is the difference between bharadvajana I and II
  • Which contraindications apply to this posture
  • How to adjust the posture

Question and Answer

1. What is Bharadvajasana?

Bharadvajasana is a seated twist pose in which both legs are bent.

2. What Is the Use of Bharadvajasana?

The posture creates awareness of body posture. Bharadvajasana gives the spine, shoulders, and neck flexibility and strengthens the entire core area.

Twists like this pose also work on digestion. It can reduce bloating and constipation. Twists also have a calming effect on the nervous system and thus ensure balance in the body.

3. How Do You Perform Bharadvajasana?

  • Start in Seiza sitting (possibly increase the seat with a bolster or blocks).
  • Bring your right foot into a half lotus. Note: keep your foot flexed.
  • Inhale, lengthen your spine by pressing this sit bone firmly into the mat.
  • Exhale, twist that long back to the right and place your hands where they land.
  • On one breath, you make the length
  • On an exhale, claim that length and possibly look over your right shoulder to the right or back.
  • Repeat the poses on the other side as well.

Why Is the Pose Called Bharadvajasana?

The name ‘bharadvajasana’ comes from ‘Bharadvaja,’ one of the seven great Hindu saints. Bharadvaja can be translated as ‘provides nourishment.’ You can see this posture as ‘nourishing’ for the back and the organs.

What Is the Difference Between Bharadvajasana I and Ii?

The version described above is version II. In it, you bring one foot on your thigh to sit in half lotus. Invariant I, the feet are both on one side of the body and no half lotus is formed.

What Are the Contraindications for Bharadvajasana?

It is advisable to be careful with this pose if you suffer from hip complaints, sore spine or knee problems.

Preparatory Poses

Good preparation not only ensures that you can get more out of your so-called peak pose but is also the medicine against injuries. The poses below are excellent preparation for this Bharadvajasana:

  • Bound angle pose, butterfly stance or Sanskrit: Baddha konasana
  • Lying leg extension or in Sanskrit: Supta Padangusthasana
  • Stretched Triangle or in Sanskrit: Utthita Trikonasana
  • Warrior 2 or in Sanskrit: Virabhadrasana II
  • Hero pose, Saddle or in Sanskrit: Virasana (which is especially recommended as a yin variant)

Bharadvajasana II Aanpassen

Bharadvajasana II requires a lot of flexibility, space, and knee joint flexibility. One knee is in a half lotus and the other is in a half saddle. Both half lotus and half saddle are quite challenging poses.

  • You will therefore come across this pose less often in a yoga class.
  • Below are some ways to modify the Bharadvajasana II pose:
  • You can choose to raise the seat by sitting on a bolster. This increases the angle in your knee (which is in half Saddle).
  • You can put your other knee (the one from the half-lotus) in front of you instead of in your lap.
  • Master a block (the one from half lotus).
  • You can choose to extend one leg and raise the seat. Don’t forget to place a block, blanket, or bolster under the extended knee to prevent it from bending too far.
  • You can choose to place your hand behind you for extra support. The disadvantage is that you often lean in your arm instead of training the back muscle and getting the power from an extended spine.
  • Use a yoga strap: Hook the strap around your knee and then twist subtly. It will take some practice at first to easily use a yoga belt, but this tip will take your practice and posture leaps and bounds.

If you are familiar with hip or knee problems, definitely choose the above options.

Do you suffer from a sore spine? Then we always advise seeing an expert first, such as a physiotherapist or general practitioner. Does your complaint stem from stiffness? Then this posture can help, but build it up slowly and don’t force anything.

Postures with Similar Effects

If the above options still don’t work for you, choose a different attitude. See if Bharadvajasana works for you. So your foot is not in the lotus position, and both feet are on one side of the seat.

You can also soften the above variant by sitting on a cushion or bolster. I like a blanket under the ankles. If this doesn’t work for you either, you can also do the pose sitting on a chair.

You can assume different leg positions here. Such as over each other, crochet in a row or just feet flat on the floor. It is essential to realize that these poses above are not ‘worse’ than the full pose.

Your hand hooked behind the knee sometimes invites the ego to pull you into the pose. Do not! An active twist resulting from a strained back muscle offers much more results.

Tips for an Extra Challenge

All the props are gone. Do you carry your body ultimately and want to take the pose a step further? See if you can vary with different arm positions. For example, you can add prayer hands or eagle arms.

You can also make the posture dynamic by reaching the arms up on an inhale and twisting the arms on an exhale and the arms horizontally or at an angle of 90 degrees.

Reading about a pose is nice, but of course, it’s about the actual practice of yoga. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at our practice platform. Here you will find a wide variety of classes.

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