Viparita Karani, Legs Up The Wall

by Restorative Yoga Poses on February 26, 2011

This pose is a mild inversion and one of the most powerful restorative poses. It helps to relieve tired feet, legs and mild backache. It also helps to gently stretch the back of the legs, front torso, back of the neck, and calms the mind.

Two thick blankets or a bolster, (sandbag), (strap)

1) With the blankets or bolster create a support for your low back and hips a few inches away from the wall. The height of the support and distance from the wall is determined by your flexibility. If you are stiff, the support will be lower and further away from the wall. The support is positioned perpendicular to the wall.
2) Curl onto your left side with your buttocks against the wall and just to the left of the support. On an exhale, use your left arm to assist and roll onto the support and sweeping your legs up onto the wall.

3) Adjust your position on the support so that your entire low back and middle back rest on the support with the shoulders and head resting on the floor.
4) Keep your legs straight and the back of your thighs against the wall.
5) Make sure that the front of your torso gently arches from the pubic bone to the top of the shoulders
6) Soften your eyes and your breath and relax your body completely.
7) Rest in this position for 5-10 minutes, up to 15 minutes.
8 ) To release the pose, bend your knees and roll to one side coming down from the support. Stay on your side for a few breaths and then slowly come up to a sitting position.

Try sliding your legs apart into a wide “V” to stretch your inner thighs (adductor muscle group) and groins. Or bring the soles of your feet together as you bend your knees and slide the outer edges of your feet towards your pelvis. A stretch to the inner thighs can be achieved with a gentle push on the upper inner thighs. A sandbag may be placed resting on top of the feet to provide a strong grounding sensation and increase the hip joint approximation and release tension from the low back. A strap may also be added around the thighs to hold the legs close allowing the leg muscles to relax without effort.

Place an eyebag on your eyes, and begin to draw long slow breaths into the belly relaxing any tension in the facial muscles.

For students with neck, back problems, or high blood pressure use guidance from an experienced teacher. This pose should be avoided if you have any serious eye problems, such as glaucoma or detached retina. Also, if your feet start to tingle in this pose, bend your knees, touch your feet together, and slide them down the wall towards the support.

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