Viparita Karani: The Legs Up The Wall Pose

Viparita Karani (vip-par-ee-tah car-AHN-ee), also know as the Legs up the Wall Pose is a mild, restorative pose. This pose is a gentle inversion that eases the mind while relieving painful symptoms like tension and cramps. Many people enjoy this pose using props – you may want to have a pillow, bolster or folded blanket nearby. During each exercise, make sure to maintain a focus on your breathing.

Sanskrit:

  • Viparita: reversed/inverted
  • Karani: doing/action
  • Asana: pose

Tips:

The use of props or bolsters will aid in the practice of this pose and ensure correct and beneficial posture.

Level:

Beginner (1)

Physical Benefits:

  • Offers relief from symptoms of arthritis, headaches, high/low blood pressure, and insomnia
  • Eases symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and menopause
  • Relieves tired, cramped feet and legs
  • Gently stretches the hamstrings, legs and lower back
  • Relieves lower back pain

Energetic Benefits

  • Calms the mind
  • Eases anxiety and stress

Mudra: Surya Mudra

This mudra represents life, rejuvenation, and health. It is also a symbolization of the Sun. Bend the ring finger with the thumb (Fire and Earth) onto the palm of the hand. (Source)

Benefits:

  • Helps with reducing weight off the body
  • Helps the digestive organs and relieves indigestion
  • Holistically boosts metabolism
  • Gives revitalized energy and strength to the nervous system
  • Sharpens the center within the thyroid gland
  • Relieves anxiety

Mantra: "Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung"

A well-known mantra used to stimulate the body's natural ability to heal itself, this mantra connects with the healing abilities of the earth and universe at large. Reciting this mantra can help strengthen the immune system while calming the nervous system, easing you into a calm state of healing. It also represents the strengthening and healing of the mind and emotions.

Preparatory Poses:

Viparita Karani is usually a restorative pose, performed towards the end of a practice, but it can easily be practiced as a pose by itself. Preparations include:

  • Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
  • Supta Baddha Konasana
  • Uttanasana
  • Virasana

Contraindications and Cautions:

Although this is a mild, restorative posture, it is still considered an inversion. Note that although many teachers recommend it as a therapeutic posture for several conditions, you should check with a doctor if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Menstruation
  • Pregnancy
  • Glaucoma
  • High blood pressure

Adjustments/Modifications:

  • This pose can be enjoyed using props like a pillow, bolster or folded blanket
  • To stretch your inner thighs and groin muscles, let your feet fall out to the sides so your legs make a wide “V” shape
  • If you neck is sore, place a rolled up blanket under your neck, or a pillow under your head

Step-By-Step:

  1. Find an open wall space. Start seated beside the wall, with your feet on the floor in front of you and your left side body in contact with the wall. On an exhale, gently lie down on your back and pivot yourself so that the backs of your legs are pressing against the wall and the bottoms of your feet are facing up. You may need to wiggle around to find your way into this position.
  2. Your sitting bones should now be pressed up against the wall, or slightly away from the wall, and your back and head rested on the floor; this will form approximately a 90-degree angle in your body.
  3. If you find this position uncomfortable in any way, or just wish for extra cushion, you can use your prop here. By pressing the bottoms of your feet into the wall, lift your hips slightly and slide your prop underneath your hips.
  4. Let the back of your head be heavy and your neck be in a neutral position. Soften your face and your throat. Let your hands rest either on your belly or down by your sides, palms facing upwards. Close your eyes and breath deeply through your nose.
  5. Stay here for anywhere from 5-15 minutes. To come out of the position, push the bottoms of your feet into the wall and lift your hips slightly. Gently roll to one side, being sure to slide your support out of the way if you have used one. Stay on your side for a few breaths before returning to your seat.

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