Legs Up the Wall Pose (or Viparita Karani) is a restorative yoga pose that allows the mind and the body to relax, relieving stress and tension. It is one of the most approachable yoga poses as it doesn’t require much flexibility or strength. But even though it’s a passive pose, its benefits are pretty amazing. Here are some reasons why I think you should be doing this lose everyday!
1. RelaxationThe semi-supine aspect of the pose combined with controlled breathing leads to a slowing down within your body. This exhibits itself in a lowered heart rate which elicits a relaxation response and, in turn, helps lower anxiety, stress and insomnia.
2. Increases circulation. Elevating the legs promotes drainage from excess fluid build-up. In addition, gravity assists circulation by facilitating the return of blood back to the heart.
3. Soothes swollen or cramped feet and legsInverting the legs/feet has long been known as an effective treatment for reducing swelling and pain in the lower extremities. This can be therapeutic after flying, physical activity or from the detrimental effects of sitting/standing during the day.
4. Stretches the hamstrings and lower back. The angle of the body reduces the curve of the lumbar spine, which will elongate and stretch the back muscles. The closer your hips are to the wall, the more stretch you'll create in your hamstrings.
5. Relieves lower back tension. Pressure is released from the spine in a supine position (especially on a bed or cushion), relieving the back from mild strain.
- Try not to bring the body to a full 90 degree angle as this can impede circulation at the hips. Instead slide your hips a few inches from the wall and/or elevate your hips by placing a cushion under your sacrum.
- Make any adjustments to facilitate a more relaxing space-- maybe place a pillow under your head, or let your arms rest on your belly or out to the sides.
- Focus on your breath: Take a deep, slowly inhale through your nose and a deep, slow exhale through your nose.
- Try to stay in the pose for at least 5 minutes for optimal benefits.
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