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.
Prasarita Padottanasana: Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose
Prasarita padottanasana (pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-tahn-AHS-an-uh) is a big stretch for the hamstrings and inner leg line. With many variations available, this pose is accessible for most practitioners. This is also a great pose in lieu of headstand.
Philosophy + Origin
Prasarita padottanasana has found its way into almost every style of yoga. B.K.S. Iyengar taught several variations of this posture, labeling them as A, B, C, and D. The most commonly practiced variation is prasarita padottanasana A. Prasarita padottanasana B is when the hands are on the hips and the head is lifted off the ground, not resting on the mat. Prasarita padottanasana C is the variation where the hands are interlaced and stretched behind the back and over the head as you fold. In the final variation taught by Iyengar, prasarita padottanasana D asks the student to grasp the big toe on each foot.