Anatomy of a Pose - Laurel Marsh

Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

Benefits:

  • Restorative to the nervous system
  • Soothes tired /swollen feet and legs
  • Helps with anxiety, insomnia, mild depression, high blood pressure, circulation, digestion, headaches, varicose veins and menstrual cramps
  • A great way to receive the benefits of an inversion in a gentle way

Key Actions:

  • Be sure to have a block, folded blanket or bolster
  • Start in bridge pose (see September 2017 Column)
  • Press down into the feet to lift the hips high enough so the prop can be placed under the sacrum.  If using a block turn it to the lowest or medium height.  Be sure the prop is not directly under the arch of the low back (lumbar spine); it should be placed below this area (the sacrum
  • Draw the knees in towards the chest, lifting the feet off the floor, and then extend the legs up towards the ceiling
  • It may be useful to wiggle around on the prop to find that sweet spot where the legs feel as though they are floating in mid air
  • Relax the arms on either side of the torso, palms facing up
  • Do very little work to keep the legs lifted and stay for 1-3 minutes
  • To come out bend the knees in towards the chest and then plant the feet to the floor.  Lift the hips high enough so the prop can be removed and then lower the hips to the ground

Modifications/Variations:

  • To invert the arms and help with leg support - when the knees hug into the chest place a strap/yoga belt around the sole of each foot and then extend the legs towards the ceiling.  Keep the arms straight as each hand lightly holds a tail of the strap.
  • For leg support, move to a wall.  Place a neatly folded blanket 2-3 inches away from the wall.  Sit on top of the blanket with the outer right hip facing the wall.  Mindfully swing the legs up so that the backs of the legs rest against the support of the wall.  If the backs of the legs feel tight, slide further away from the wall to decrease the angle of the legs.
laurel legs up.jpg