Postural Inspiration: Bharadvajasana aka “the Twisty Hero’s Pose”

Written by guest blogger and PVYU Yoga teacher Nicholas Capobianco

Nick Capobianco demonstrating “the twisty hero’s pose”

The Pose

I was exposed to this pose by David in my very first Pranavayu accelerated class and I have been in love with it ever since! It is a twist (literally) on one of the oldest poses as outlined in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika: Virasana, or “Hero.”  These days Hero is typically seen as a symmetrical pose done in either the seated or supine position, but in the old days Virasana was an asymmetrical meditation posture and only had 1 leg in half-hero position while the other foot sat on top of that hip in half-lotus.

Wanna try it?  

Once you are comfortably seated in the general position, place your opposite hand on the knee of the half lotus leg, while reaching behind your back with your other hand to grab the toes of the half lotus foot.   Once completely bound, lengthen upward through the spine as you draw your shoulders back and down and proceed to enter one of the “cleanest” twists you will ever experience in Yoga!

Need to Modify?  

Can’t do half-lotus yet and still want to give it a try? No worries! You can make this one easier by drawing your lotus  foot to the inner thigh of the hero leg instead.  From there, just reach around your back and grab a handful of clothes or your inner thigh to anchor the twist.

The Benefits

Aside from the usual Latisimus Dorsi & Oblique stretches you get from twists, this version really allows you to keep the hips and sacrum anchored to facilitate some extra external rotation hitting the Glutes and IT Band as well.  Overall, this is a terrific pose to do after any backbend sequence


4 responses to “Postural Inspiration: Bharadvajasana aka “the Twisty Hero’s Pose”

  1. Thank you for the inspiration .
    I have just reshared it in my facebook site .

  2. I think this pose is a little to acrobatic for me. I can barely do a basic sitting pose. Instead, I have to sit cross legged the old fashioned way.

    However, I do practice meditation on a chair. Is that just as good?

    • Hi Mike,

      Of course! It’s always important to modify when necessary. The most important part of this pose is the twist. If placing the legs in the way Nick recommended is too challenging, you can always practice from a simple cross legged position instead.

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