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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Why Savasana Is Good for Your Heart
Corpse pose (Savasana) is the final pose of a yoga practice. In Savasana you are encouraged to let the breath be free, but also bring awareness to it as you quiet the mind. To help yourself move deeper into the pose, practice in a quiet and warm space. Mindfully relax all of your muscles, and as you do this, you may want to deepen the breath.
Even though it’s a resting pose, it can be one of the most difficult poses of the practice. Savasana challenges you in ways that you are not used to being challenged. Patience, control of the mind, and complete acceptance of oneself are things that we don’t practice very often. And while some may enjoy the emotional experience it shares, Savasana has many physical health benefits to offer, too, especially for the heart. This February, celebrate heart health and learn about the benefits Savasana offers to your vital organ.
Decreases Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can be caused by several factors, one of them being stress. Having high blood pressure can put you at risk for a number of serious health conditions, including stroke and heart disease. Taking time to slow down, deepen your breath, and relax during Savasana can help decrease your blood pressure.
Reduces Your Heart Rate
High or constant levels of stress can also cause your heart rate to increase – but so can other things, such as caffeine, alcohol and certain health conditions. The slow breathing techniques and relaxation opportunities that Savasana offers can help reduce your heart rate.
Allows the Heart to Rest
Deep breathing exercises major organs of the body, including the lungs. It forces your lungs to work more than they typically do throughout the day and brings in more oxygen to the blood, which then gets sent to the heart. With the lungs working a little harder, it eases the pressure needed by the heart to pump oxygen through the body. This gives the heart a bit of a break, making both your lungs and heart more efficient throughout your daily activities.
Helps You Lead a Healthier Lifestyle
Living a stressful life makes it more difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle. Cooking healthy food at home, doing things that you love and fitting physical activity into your day are harder to do when you live a high-stress life. But neglecting these things can put your health at risk. Some people respond to stress by overeating, smoking, or drinking alcohol – all of which increase your chances of developing heart disease and stroke. Taking the time to practice Savasana along with your slow, deep breaths helps you to reduce stress, calm your nervous system, and think more clearly. Overall, practicing Savasana can help you make healthier choices.
It is recommended to practice this pose for five minutes for every thirty minutes you have spent practicing the asanas/physical poses and movements of yoga. But remember – you can take this practice off your mat and learn how to do this throughout the day, too, helping your heart stay healthy all day long.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read in this article.