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.
- Viparita: reversed/inverted
- Karani: doing/action
- Relieves tired feet and legs.
- Gently stretches the hamstrings and legs.
- Can relieve discomfort in the lower back.
- Thought to calm the mind.
- Thought to ease symptoms of anxiety and stress.
- Shoulder stand on the wall
- Dragonfly on the wall
- Figure four on the wall
- 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.
- Begin seated beside an open wall, with your hip and shoulder against the wall.
- Gently lower your torso down to the ground as your legs lift up against the wall.
- Option to wiggle closer to or further away from the wall to your comfort level.
- Option to place a block, pillow, or folded blanket under your hips to release any discomfort in the low back or hamstrings.
- Allow your head to rest on the ground or a pillow and place your arms wherever they are most comfortable.
- Stay anywhere from one to 15 minutes.
- 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.
Uttana Shishosana: Extended Puppy Pose
An intelligent pose to help lengthen the spine and relieve mental stress, uttana shishosana (OO-ta-NAH she-SHO-sahna), is a hybrid pose — a cross between balasana (child’s pose) and adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog). Uttana shishosana is a great way to energize the physical and subtle bodies for when you’re feeling fatigued, or when you’ve been stuck behind a desk or in a chair all day. Energetically, the posture has the benefits of increasing both self-confidence and self-love.
Philosophy + Origin
Uttana shishosana is a great reminder of why we practice yoga: to feel better and to find tools to help us live our best lives. Named because of the way dogs and puppies stretch, this posture, while far from fancy, is effective in its simplicity. As humans, it’s easy to want to complicate life, always looking to the past or future in order to find meaning.
Dogs, on the other hand, are great at being present. Loyal and playful, our canine companions have a lot to teach us about relaxing and taking care of ourselves and those we love. As you practice extended puppy pose, allow yourself to settle into your senses. Allow yourself to linger (and lengthen) in the feel-good sensations.