Legs Up the Wall – The Magical Asana
Legs up the wall is the asana that just keeps on giving! Its powers are almost magical with its positive effects on both body and mind.
We love it.
Viparita Karani translates from Sanskrit to mean ‘inverted in action’. There are several reasons why inverting the actions of our bodies is such a wonderful thing. It is grounding, nourishing and really calming. Here are all the reasons why this humble yoga asana should make an appearance in your life on a weekly basis.
First, how to get there and the modifications to make it right for you. There is no real graceful way to get into this posture, but it is certainly worth the wiggle and wriggle to get there.
Sit sideways up against a wall, slowly roll onto your side with your back on the floor and your legs up the wall. You will need to have a good wriggle around to get comfy. If you wish, feel free to slide a pillow or a bolster under your hips to lift you up if that feels nicer on your lower back and legs.
Once you are in there, legs up the wall and comforatble then simply close your eyes. Allow your arms to rest beside you or place the hands onto the body. Begin to take deep breaths, softly sighing tthe exhale away and allowing your body to relax. For the best chance to get all the benefits, stay here for at least three minutes, ten is even better!
Ok, so you are in! Here is why it is so wonderful!
- Gently stretches the lower back and hamstrings – the angle of the legs up the wall reduces the arch of your lumbar spine creating a gentle stretch to the lower back that still has full support of the floor beneath!
- Eases swollen feet and ankles – after a day on your feet or sat at a desk, our lymphatic systems benefit from a bit of boost and this is the perfect antidote! This is a therapeutic way to relieve swelling and also pain the lower limbs.
- Reduce fatigue – by inverting the legs, a boost to the circulation to the top half of your body and head is a great way to relieve the feelings of fatigue including jet lag! Perfect for after a flight or long car ride!
- Soothes the nervous system – by gently inverting the body and softening the breath we begin stimulating the vagus nerve. Often named the wandering nerve due to its route form the brain to the gut. When stimulated, it sends a message to the nervous system that the body is safe and able to fully relax. This means switching out of fight or flight and soothing the nervous system.
- Relaxation – As always with restorative yoga the biggest benefit is not what you are doing but what you are not! Taking the time to relax in this blissful posture for a few minutes. With your eyes closed and focusing on your breath is the perfect way to release stress and feel and find a moment of peace.
For a chance to nurture your body with some much needed deep rest and relaxation, join us for a blissful weekend at one of our UK retreats or our adventure retreats where you will practice yoga in a unique destination twice a day!