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Restorative Practice: Legs Up the Wall

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

Has the heat got you beat? Legs up the Wall (or Viparita Karani) is a supported inversion that can help revive tired legs and overall energy levels by bringing blood flow back into the upper body. All you need is your yoga mat, a wall that's clear of windows and decor and possibly a blanket for under your head and neck. If you don't have the wall space, or would prefer to keep the legs a bit closer to the ground, stonehenge pose is a great alternative.

To practice:

  1. Place your mat perpendicular to the wall. Set up a folded blanket or towel to support your head and neck at about the center of your mat.

  2. The only tricky part about this pose can be getting your legs up on the wall. Start by sitting with one side of your body facing the wall (your legs and torso will be facing the the side)

  3. Lower down on to the forearm of the arm that's facing away from the wall. Then start to lift one leg and then the other up against the wall while shifting your torso so it's centered on the mat. You may need to adjust a bit so you feel comfortable. You also don't need to have your seat touching the wall. In fact, if you feel tightness in the hips or hamstrings (back of thighs), it might feel better to keep some space between the wall and your seat.

  4. Once your legs and torso are in position, adjust the blanket so your head and neck are supported.

  5. Your arms can be bent with your palms placed facing down on your belly (see photo), extended out to the side with palms facing up, extended out the side with elbows bent in a goal post position, or resting by your side.

  6. Additional prop options include: placing a blanket on your belly, placing a sandbag on your feet for extra grounding (it's helpful to have someone assist you in doing this as those sandbags can be heavy!), or a strap or belt around calves or thighs to keep the legs secure. An eye pillow covering the eyes can also be a lovely add-on.

  7. Stay in the pose for up to 10-15 minutes. To come out of it, keeping the legs supported on the wall you might want slide them apart making a "V"- shape, then bend the knees and bring the soles of the feet together (as in bound angle pose) to stretch out the hips. When you are ready, hug your knees into your chest, roll over to one side and then PAUSE. Take your time coming up to sit. Notice any shifts in your body, breath and energy level.


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