Legs Up the Wall Pose or Viparita Karani Supported Variation
Why Practice Legs Up the Wall?
This pose has become one of my favourite yoga poses every since my first encounter with it. This pose is deeply therapeutic for people like me, that work standing on their feet all day. Standing for hours at a time without rest in-between often results in people suffering from variety of physical ailments. The major ones we experience are chronic lower back pain, tired, stiff and sore hamstrings, thighs, shins, calf muscles and feet which often lead to tight and achy hips. Poor circulation can also lead to spider or varicose veins which increase the risk of blood clots. In yoga we like to counter stress on the body as much as possible so try this pose for 5-20 minutes and experience a full body restoration!
Benefits of Legs up the Wall
- relieves tight, tired and achy hips
- gently lengthens and relaxes tight hamstrings
- reduces swelling in the feet and legs
- stretches the back of the neck
- improves digestion
- relieves mild lower back ache
- calms the mind
- reduces anxiety
- relieves mild symptoms of depression and insomnia
- regulates blood flow
- helps reduce pain caused by varicose veins
- alleviates headaches
- soothes menstrual cramps
Getting into the Pose
- If you have a bolster go ahead and place it an inch or so away from the wall
- If using a bolster have a seat side saddle style on end of your bolster so that your left shoulder is touching the wall
- As you start to lean back bring the left elbow to the floor as you swing both your legs up the wall, shift your body weight to align yourself center
- Bring your back to the mat and your arms resting wide at your side or in a cactus position
- Get comfortable by playing with the distance between your bum and the wall. Place both feet on the on the wall, engage your core muscles and lift your pelvis away from the wall and slowly lower back down. It is helpful to have the sitting bones ever so slightly roll of the end of the bolster towards the wall
- Allow your head to rest on a single folded blanket so that the bottom of the pillow is touching the tops of your shoulders
- Top the pose off with an eye pillow and sandbag or blanket across the abdomen
- Focus on breathing with slow inhalations and exhalations, directing the breath deep into the belly.
- Stay rested in the pose anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes
- To exit the pose, press your feet into the wall, lift your pelvis away from the wall, slide the bolster away from you and slowly lower your back all the way down to the mat. Draw the knees into the chest for a few moments then rock over to your right side still hugging the knees into the chest, take three deep breaths, and use the top hand to press your way back up into a seated position.
- If your legs feel too tight, place your feet into the wall, engage your core and lift your pelvis away from the wall, move the bolster further away from the wall with both hands and slowly lower back down
- If the legs are away from the wall, keep a slight bend in the knees to prevent them from locking.
- If your pelvis feels tucked under you are too close to the wall, take a hold of both ends of the bolser and slide it towards you.
- If your lower back is causing you discomfort, your sitting bones may be rolling off your bolster too far. Try pressing both feet into the wall, bending your knees and lifting your pelvis away from the wall,slowing lowering back down so that your hips are closer to the centre of the bolster rather than rolling off to far forward towards the wall.
- If an uncomfortable sensation arises gently bend the knees in towards your chest for a few moments and extend back up when ready.