Sometimes one pose is all you need to do to get the benefits of yoga.
The most wonderful thing about a home yoga practice is that you can arrive exactly how you are, and choose practices that support and nourish your body and mind with exactly what it needs. And there are days when you don’t have the energy to even contemplate a vigorous practice, when you really just need to relax and restore. So on days like those, instead of skipping your daily practice until you have more energy, give yourself the rest you need with one single restorative pose.
Like one of my very favourite poses: Legs Up the Wall - also know as Viparita Karani.
Viparita means inverted, and karani means action; this pose is a gentle inversion and it’s all about changing the flow in the body, and reaping benefits while doing nothing. It’s one of the easiest poses you can do, requiring very little flexibility or strength.
Here is why I love Legs Up the Wall pose.
It’s ultra restful, restorative and refreshing
This is one of the most restful and calming poses you can do and it allows you to go into a deep state of relaxation. It rests your body and your mind, allowing internal work to happen, healing and revitalizing you while you rest. While you practice this pose you will be slowing your heart rate and calming your nervous system. It’s a pose that may lower anxiety and even help you sleep better. With your legs higher than your heart, the pose reverses the flow of energy in your body, refreshing your circulation and encouraging the drainage of fluids from tired feet and legs. It’s sort of a lovely way to get things moving more freely. Imagine yourself as a conduit for healing energy flowing through your body.
It’s an opportunity to let go
With the complete absence of effort, the support of the wall, and the openness of your arms and heart centre, this pose is an ideal opportunity to let go. It allows you to release any tension you might be holding in your body, any stress you may be carrying with you. Let it all sinking away from you and into the floor. It’s also an opportunity to consciously let go of of thoughts and worries even for just a few moments. In this pose of inverted flow, you might feel the tingling of your circulation and energy as it flows through your body, like your own personal little river of life. Imagine it flowing freely and taking with it any toxic thoughts, emotions or tensions that you may be holding onto, and that may be holding your back. Just let them go.
It’s very grounding
To me, this pose feels very grounding. With the entire upper body on the floor and the weight of the legs rooting into your hip joints, I feel like I’m held and supported. It’s also very good to nurture your root chakra which helpsus to stay grounded and has the power to connect us to the earth.
You can do it anywhere
You don’t need to wear your yoga clothes and you can do it anywhere. Even in your bed. It’s great to feel rested and restored after a long day. And I’ve actually even done this in my corporate office on days when I was feeling over-stressed and anxious. I could simply close my door and swing my legs up the wall, close my eyes for a few minutes, and nobody would even know.
It’s a great alternative to savasana at the end of a yoga practice
Don’t try this pose if …
This pose (and inversions in general) is not recommended for anyone with glaucoma, hypertension or hernia. And not ideal for women who are menstruating.
HOW TO DO LEGS UP THE WALL POSE (Viparita Karani)
Choose a spot along a clear wall. Place your yoga mat perpendicular to the wall, with the short edge up against the wall.
Sit up close to the wall facing one side, and then swing your legs up the wall as you lie down on your back. Keep your hips just a few inches from the wall.
Your ankles, knees and hips should be in the same line. Ideally you should keep your legs straight, but it’s totally fine to have them a bit bent.
acrum – this helps to ensure you have circulation flowing through your hips as you rest here.
Place your hands either on your lower abdomen, or on the floor beside you, palms up.
Notice the sensations in your legs, feet and ankles as they shift and change. Focus on breathing softly and fully into your pelvis.
Stay for at least five minutes, and up to twenty.
You don’t need any props at all to do this pose, but sometimes they can enhance the benefits and make you feel more comfortable.
Bolster, block or blanket: You may wish to prop a folded blanket, a low bolster or even a soft cork yoga block under your lower back to maintain the nice natural curve of your lower back. This can make the pose a bit more restorative.
Yoga strap: If you feel like your feet want to slide down the wall, you can loosely fasten a yoga strap around your calves to keep your legs in place and so that your feet won’t slide down the wall. If you don’t have a strap you can also use a scarf.
Eye pillow: An eye pillow can make this pose even more restful.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE
While you are in this ultimately restful pose, it's perfect to do NOTHING. Focus on your breathing, just exploring and noticing how it flows in and out of your body, and how it feels in this position. Notice the sensations you are experiencing in your body. And rest your mind while you rest your body; if any thoughts come into your mind, gently labels them as "thoughts" and let them go. And it's perfectly OK if you fall asleep for a few minutes, a sign of ultimate relaxation.
Comments will be approved before showing up.