If Chubby Checker is now playing in your head, we’re on the right track! If you don’t know Chubby Checker, stay with us and you can Google him later!
This month’s yoga pose is the Chair Bharadvajasana . . . chair, like take a seat . . . bah-ROD-va-JAHS-anna, after sage Bharadvāja, one of the Saptarshis (Seven Great Sages Rishi) in the present Manvantara (more Googling allowed!).
If you can sit in a chair, this yoga pose is for you!
Unlike Chubby Checker’s twist, the Bharadvajasana is gentle. It is an ideal pose for beginners because of its simplicity and its stabilizing nature. The pose is directed to the spine and abdomen and the seated chair position eliminates pressure on the ankle and knee joints.
A folding chair or any chair that has a flat seat and no armrest is preferred. Sit sideways on the right side of the chair with your right shoulder close to the back of the chair. Place your feet hip width apart and parallel to each other on the floor with your knees directly above your feet. Exhale and turn to face the back of the chair, placing your hands and holding the top of the backrest. Inhale and lift your chest up, exhale and turn to the right. Hold the pose for several breaths before repeating on the opposite side.
Yoganga.com says, “. . . your challenge in Bharadvajasana is to not get swept away in the twist but to remain mindful of holding your axis tall and upright. Balancing yourself along your central channel can be mentally as well as physically centering. Your spine is like your own axis mundi, cosmic connection between the earth and sky, the material and the spiritual. As you turn, you don’t want to disturb the evenness of the two sides of your body.
Yoga philosophy explains how the constantly changing nature of life causes physical, mental, and emotional hardship. It is easy to be thrown off balance by the daily flux of experiences. In your yoga practice you learn to tap a source of calm and stability that is accessible throughout life’s twists and turns. Stabilizing your upright mid-line while twisting in Bharadvajasana can be a training ground for finding inner balance and equanimity when faced with your greatest challenges.”
Benefits from practicing Bharadvajasana include stretching of the spine, shoulders, and hips, abdominal organ massage, relief of stress and improved digestion, and relief from lower back pain, neck pain, and sciatica.
“Traditionally, Bharadvajasana on chair, like many twisting postures, is said to activate the manipura chakra, which is the third chakra. This chakra is associated with self-esteem, power and confidence. Working on postures that stimulate this chakra may help the yogi develop the self-belief and confidence to overcome obstacles or fears.”, according to Yogapedia.
The great sage, Bharadvāja, though very knowledgeable in the study of yoga, supposedly went through a number of lives before truly understanding that sharing the knowledge of yoga was the true source of joy. His “twist” in his thinking is honored in the study of this pose and “reminds us that the journey of yoga and wisdom isn’t always easy. It takes persistence and dedication to find the greatness of our own soul and the highest purpose of our lives. Yet when we do we find that this world can be the heaven we were always searching for.” (yogamaitricenter.com)
So grab a chair and let’s twist!