July was HOT. Have you been feeling sluggish? What about weary and swollen? As much as we can relish these beautiful, sunny summer days, heat can cause vasodilation, meaning our blood vessels expand, causing us to feel fuller, heavier and slower. With the help of gravity, legs up the wall can support healthy venous return–the rate of blood flow back to the heart–and can help to refresh the heat-fogged mind.
With no need for fancy props, clothes, or even a wall (as you can see above) viparita karani is a restorative pose appropriate nearly anytime and anywhere as a gentle back, neck and leg opener.
Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
- Unroll your mat with a short end against the wall
- Sit with your left shoulder a few inches away from the wall
- Slowly lower down onto your right side so that your buttox is close to the wall
- Gently roll onto your back, hugging your knees in (Here, your bottom is close to the wall and your feet can rest flat on the wall)
- Slowly walk the feet up the wall until the legs are straight
- Let the tops of your thigh bones sink down into the hip socket
- Breathe here for 5-15 minutes and relax!
- To come out, hug the knees into the chest and gently roll to one side, taking a few breaths there before using your hands to press up to seated
Tips: Use a bolster or folded blankets for extra lower back support. Depending on your height and flexibility, your sit-bones may or may not touch the wall. Experiment with supports and distance from the wall to be comfortable. You can also try this with your legs in lotus position, a wide straddle or cobbler’s pose, and against any supportive structure–not just a wall!
Cautions: This pose is not for people with serious eyes problems, such as glaucoma, and should be undertaken with caution or supervision for those with serious back and neck issues.