It has been said that there are anywhere between 84 and an infinite number of yoga poses. I hate to pick a favorite, but…I will.
“Legs Up the Wall” (or viparita karani in sanskrit) is my ultimate go-to pose for just about everything. This pose can be accomplished by anyone at any age, at any level of yoga ability and flexibility. It even helped me tremendously after hip surgery a couple of years ago when I was on crutches and really couldn’t do anything else.
The list of benefits to this pose are endless. Here are just a few:
- Restore and relax the nervous system
- Reverse blood flow, great after any exercise (yoga, golf, running, hiking, biking, skiing, etc., etc.)
- Post-travel recovery. (This is the first thing I do when I get wherever I am going to counteract sitting on the plane or in the car.)
- Relieve lower back pain
- Counter pose to backbends in yoga class
- Prepare the body for sleep (excellent pose to do for a few minutes to relax before bed)
- Provides grounding energy when you feel you are spinning in a thousand different directions
Another reason I love this pose is that it can easily be done anywhere!
- Sit on the floor with your hips right next to the wall
- Spin your body so your legs are against the wall, feet are up, and your back is on the floor
- To relieve any tension in the hamstrings, scoot your hips farther away from the wall and/or bend your knees
- Put your feet and calves on a chair, knees bent. Same pose, same benefits.
- Place a strap around your calves to reduce effort in the leg muscles
- Elevate your hips on a block or bolster (see photo) and/or move away from the wall. Moving away from the wall is a little more work for your legs and core, but still relaxing and restorative.
- If your head is sensitive, place a thin towel or blanket underneath, but don’t elevate your head so much that your chin reaches toward your chest.
Stay for a couple of minutes at first, then build up slowly. Gently come out of the pose and take a few breaths before standing up.
This isn’t the ONLY pose you’ll ever do, but it is arguably the most impactful on a day-to-day basis.
Try it before bed tonight and leave me a comment and let me know what you think!