For those of you who have never tried yoga but want to, this easy pose may interest you. For those of you who have never tried yoga and don’t want to, you might change your mind!
Used for years by yogis and yoginis, Viparita Karana asana, a.k.a. legs-up-the-wall pose, is getting mainstream attention from running enthusiasts and cubicle warriors alike. The reason? It’s working wonders for tense bodies that need a little rejuvenation.
You don’t have to attend a class or workshop to reap the magic of legs-up-the-wall because all you need is a wall. There are even some folks making time for it at work. We’re telling you about a handful of its benefits as well as showing you how it’s done. Grab some wall!
Movement in the abdomen helps to massage the intestines, which boosts digestion and fights constipation. Your appetite may increase as well due to better (and quicker) elimination of digested food.
Promotes Healthy Circulation
Because this is considered an inverted pose, blood flow increases to the upper part of the body, bringing a rush of oxygen with it. Your lymphatic system also gets a good flush. This helps to reduce swelling in the lower extremities and can assist with blood pressure problems.
Aids in Pain Relief
Working the muscles in the pelvis helps to strengthen the reproductive organs, easing menstrual cramps and symptoms of menopause. Exercising stiff joints gently with this pose is also beneficial for those who suffer from arthritis or fibromyalgia. Leg cramping (day or night) can subside with regular practice.
Due to its effect on circulation, this pose also aids with headache relief and prevention, especially those caused by slow-moving blood.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Relaxing on your back with your legs elevated helps to calm your mind and let go. Combined with deep breathing, Viparita Karana helps you to slow down, and lets your parasympathetic nervous system take over – prompting you to r-e-s-t. Best of all, you get to lie there and let your mind drift!
Stretches Hips, Legs, Back
Your calf and leg muscles, hamstrings, and back will all get a good stretch with this pose. So will your neck and hips as you move into and out of the pose. Over time, it will make your body more flexible and elastic, relieving tension and pain in those areas. Regular practice can also help heal chronic back pain.
Click on the video below to see step-by-step how to ease into this pose. As directed by the instructor, gently come out of it. A slight bend in the knee is fine if you have some trouble keeping your legs vertical.
Be sure to keep your spine aligned in a straight line for maximum benefit. For an extra stretch, spread your feet into a small “V” formation.
When practicing Viparita Karana, start out slowly – no more than 5 to 10 minutes at a time until your body adjusts to being in this position. Build up to 15 minutes and you’re good to go!
As with any asana, there are some precautions. Do not try to climb higher up the wall with your feet! If you have a neck, hip, or back injury, you should avoid doing this pose. People with glaucoma or history of cardiac/stroke issues may want to avoid this asana because it will increase pressure around the head and heart.
Consult with your doctor first if you have major health issues. Legs-up-the-wall is a gentle pose with a host of physical and mental benefits, even if you’re a beginner. Give it a shot!