FEBRUARY POSE OF THE MONTH
Bharadvajasana I & II - Bharadvaja's Twist
Bharadvaja - (One of the Seven Legendary Seers) - Asana - (Pose)
Also known to some as Mermaid Twist
February the month of love... for a number of reason's Valentine's Day of course is one reason, another reason is that payday has arrived and its a nice short month after a long January!
This month I bring you Bharadvajasana known to some as mermaid pose particularly in Children's Yoga and its easier for me to say! The sanskirt also translates into "Bringing about Nourishment" and this, it it definitely does do. The twisting motion is believed to squeeze out tension and stress as you would wring out a dirty cloth.... it helps to move old or stagnant blood from the spine and abdominal organs allowing a whole new fresh supply of oxygenated blood and nourishment to flood back into the spine and digestive system.
I chose Bharadvajasana for the month of LOVE because traditionally this pose is thought to open the Muladhara (Root) and Anahata (Heart) Chakra's or energy centres in the body. The muladhara is grounding and provides us with a sense of security and safety. Opening the anahata is associated with compassion, acceptance. self-esteem and love. When we feel safe and secure we can more easily give more of ourselves and live from a place of love and compassion because we don't feel under threat.
This is an accessible twist for everyone and is especially good for the second trimester in pregnancy as it helps to strengthen the lower back and one of the few twists that are safe for pregnancy but please note the torso twists towards the feet in pregnancy (not away from the feet as in the pictures).
Physically this pose is easy, the challenge while practicing Bharadjavasana is to twist mindfully - maintaining a tall upright spine and stabilizing yourself along this central channel can be both mentally and physically balancing but it is easy to get carried away by the twist and lose this balancing aspect of the pose.
"Yoga philosophy explains how the constantly changing nature of life causes physical, mental and emotional hardship. It is easy to be thrown of balance by the daily flux of experiences. In your yoga practice you learn to tap into 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."
Marla Apt, Iyengar Yoga Teacher
When we realise and understand that everyone is working with their own personal challenges, we must then take responsibility to empower and nurture oursleves first. We need to find compassion and love for the self before we can offer it out to others. We need to take responsibility for our own happiness and not rely on external love to feel worthy. And we can only do this when we feel safe, centred and balanced and I hope that Bharadjavasana can help us to cultivate these qualities.
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL BENEFITS
Helps to relieve stress and anxiety
Calms the mind and nervous system
Restores a sense of balance
Stretches the spine, shoulders and hips
Massages the abdominal organs
Improves digestion and metabolism
Tones the core
CAUTIONS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS
HINTS & TIPS