Viparita Karani: Legs Up The Wall Pose

Viparita Karani: Legs Up The Wall Pose

Viparita karani (vip-par-ee-tah car-AHN-ee) is a gentle restorative pose. This slightly inverted pose can ease busy mind chatter and may relieve uncomfortable symptoms like tension and menstrual cramps. You may enjoy practicing this pose with a block, folded blanket, or pillow under your hips to lift your hips above the plane of your heart.

Sanskrit:

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

Physical Benefits:

  • Relieves tired feet and legs.
  • Gently stretches the hamstrings and legs.
  • Can relieve discomfort in the lower back.

Energetic Benefits

  • Thought to calm the mind.
  • Thought to ease symptoms of anxiety and stress.

Preparatory Poses:

Sequential Poses:

  • Shoulder stand on the wall
  • Dragonfly on the wall
  • Figure four on the wall

Counter Poses:

  • Savasana

Adjustments/Modifications:

  • Place a pillow, bolster, or folded blanket under your hips to release the hamstrings and low back.
  • Gently lower your feet out to the sides so your legs make a wide “V” shape for dragonfly on the wall.
  • Place a rolled up blanket under your neck for additional support.
  • Loop a strap around your thighs to allow the legs to relax more deeply.

Step-By-Step:

  1. Begin seated beside an open wall, with your hip and shoulder against the wall.
  2. Gently lower your torso down to the ground as your legs lift up against the wall.
  3. Option to wiggle closer to or further away from the wall to your comfort level.
  4. Option to place a block, pillow, or folded blanket under your hips to release any discomfort in the low back or hamstrings.
  5. Allow your head to rest on the ground or a pillow and place your arms wherever they are most comfortable.
  6. Stay anywhere from one to 15 minutes.
  7. To release, push the bottoms of your feet into the wall and lift your hips slightly. If using a support, move the support out of the way. Gently roll to one side and stay for a few breaths before returning to your seat.

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Ardha Matsyendrasana: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

Ardha Matsyendrasana: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS   |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Ardha matsyendrasana (ARE-dah MOT-see-en-DRAHS-ah-nah) is an approachable twist that opens the shoulders and chest. A good antidote for too much sitting and symptoms that come with overusing technology, half lord of the fishes pose has the ability to increase energy in the body while also stoking the digestive fire in your belly.

Philosophy + Origin

Matsyendra is often recognized as one of the original founders of hatha yoga in yogic mythology. He was said to be a baby who was thrown into the ocean after his parents rejected him. The story of Matsyendra reminds us that it’s often the parts of our personal stories we don’t like or don’t want to accept that can be the most beneficial, especially on the path to becoming a yogi or yogini. Rather than conceptualizing the twist to be a purge of what is unwanted or unnecessary, think of the detoxification as a purification, an opportunity to take what was once viewed or understood as “bad” and transform it into something that is helpful on your personal journey.

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