Legs-up-the-Wall | Yoga Pose
Viparita karani (vip-par-EE-tah car-AHN-ee), or legs-up-the-wall pose, is a restorative inversion that can ease the mind and relieve painful symptoms such as tension and cramps. Many people enjoy this pose using props — you may want to have a pillow, bolster, or folded blanket nearby.
- This pose may be enjoyed using props like a pillow, bolster, or folded blanket under your hips.
- 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.
CONTRAINDICATIONS AND CAUTIONS:
Although this is a mild, restorative posture, it is still considered an inversion. While many teachers recommend legs-up-the-wall pose as a therapeutic posture, please check with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following:
- High Blood Pressure
Use a blanket or pillow under your hips to release any tension in the lower back.
Place a blanket on the soles of your feet for a grounded sensation.
No wall? Place a block or blanket under your hips and stretch your legs up to the sky, finding a place where your legs feel almost weightless.
STEP BY STEP:
- Find an open wall space. Start seated beside the wall, with shoulder and hip touching the wall. On an exhale, gently lie down on your back and pivot yourself so that the backs of your legs press against the wall and the bottoms of your feet face upward. You may need to wiggle around to find your way into this position.
- With your sitting bones pressed up against the wall, or slightly away from the wall, rest your back and head on the floor; this will form an approximate 90-degree angle with your body.
- 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.
- Let the back of your head feel heavy with your neck in a neutral position. Soften your face and your throat. Let your hands rest face-down on your belly or face-up along the sides of your torso. Close your eyes and breathe deeply through your nose.
- Stay here for anywhere from five to 15 minutes. To come out of the position, push the bottoms of your feet into the wall and lift your hips slightly. Remove your props. Gently roll to one side for a few breaths before returning to your seat.
Viparita Karani is usually a restorative pose, performed near the end of a practice, but it can easily be practiced as a pose by itself. Preparations include:
- Bridge pose | Setu bandha sarvangasana
- Standing forward fold | Uttanasana
- Viparita: reversed/inverted
- Karani: doing/action
- Asana: pose
- Offers relief from symptoms of arthritis, headaches, high/low blood pressure, and insomnia.
- Eases symptoms of PMS and menopause.
- Relieves tired, cramped feet and legs.
- Gently stretches the hamstrings, legs and lower back.
- Relieves lower back pain.
- Calms the mind.
- Eases anxiety and stress.
“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 us 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.
MUDRA: SURYA MUDRA
Surya mudra (gesture of the sun) represents life, rejuvenation, and health. Bend the ring finger to the palm and place the thumb on top of the ring finger.
- 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 symptoms of anxiety.
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Top 10 Yoga Poses for Headaches
Yoga can be a beneficial therapeutic tool for relieving headaches brought on by muscle tension and stress. The majority of headaches originate from muscle stiffness and imbalances emanating from the neck and upper back. When headaches set in, using a series of restorative yoga exercises can greatly relieve both the cause and symptoms. Here are our top yoga poses and exercises that naturally treat headaches.
1. Cat Pose: The flowing motion of breath and spine helps release tension from the neck and upper back while also pouring refreshing energy through the body and mind.
2. Seated Twists: Besides increasing circulation throughout the entire length of the spine, the twisting motion in the upper spine (cervical region) often alleviates tension coming from the scalene muscles of the neck (anterior aspect).
3. Chest Openers: Much of the tension in the back body is a result of muscle dominance from the front body (called Upper Cross Syndrome). Expanding the chest and front shoulder muscles helps break down muscular imbalances and frees the tension coming from the neck.
4. Eagle Arms: This simple crossed arm pose can be done in Mountain Pose or any natural seated posture. This back expander can reach well into the mid and upper back targeting problematic muscles around the shoulder blades and the base of the neck. Take time in this arm pose to breath slow and full into the upper back and insure that you perform this arm pose on both sides.
5. Simple Neck Stretches: Gently move through the various muscle fiber lines by allowing your head to float down to one shoulder with gravity, down across the chest and into the other side – repeat with a natural, unforced motion. Avoid letting the head fall back-keep the motion in a half circle from one shoulder to the other. Pause where you find extra areas of resistance.
6. Child’s Pose: A perfect restorative yoga pose that slightly inverts the body. A gentle flow of extra blood circulates into the head helping relieve tension. With the legs slightly separated, you can easily settle into deep core and back breathing to encourage a flood of circulation to reach deep into the body. Note that the head and neck should be absolutely comfortable. If needed, keep you arms forward or bend the elbows and rest the forearms by your chest/under your shoulders so the palms face up-this will greatly unload any pressure from the neck.
7. Two Knee Reclining Twist: Unlike our seated twists, this reclining twist can be far more restorative and held longer to bring deeper focus into relaxing the nervous system while the chest expands and rejuvenates the spine. Give extra attention to releasing the shoulders into the mat to release dominance of the shoulder and chest muscles.
8. Legs Up The Wall Pose: This highly beneficial inverted pose is great for developing hamstring flexibility and for improving circulation in the lower limbs. For headaches, the extra flow of blood to the brain and the restorative support can be deeply relaxing and nourishing.
9. Alternate Nostril Breathing: The aim of alternate nostril breathing is to restore balance to the energy systems. With balance, we find release and calm. This yoga breathing exercise is easy to do for all levels and targets the nervous system by slowing brain waves, calming the mind, and purging stress.
10. Relaxation Pose: After doing a series of restorative yoga poses, take some time to simply relax and release in Savasana. Turn the focus away from the symptoms of your headache and settle into the sensation of mental and physical release. You may find a light eye pillow helpful in moving tension/pressure out of the eyes and forehead. Increase your comfort by placing a bolster under the knees and a thin pillow under the head. To complement the chest openers and reclining twists, lay with the arms open to the sides/palms facing the ceiling.