Viparita Karani, or Legs up the Wall Pose, is a vital posture of yoga that helps the mind and body relax and relieves tension and stress. This is one of the easiest yoga poses to do, as it does not require much strength or flexibility. It’s not a very active pose, but it has some pretty incredible benefits. Legs up the Wall can also be a calming morning or nighttime meditation pose.
How to Do It
Create a cozy area around a wall. My personal favorite is to lie in bed and put my legs on the headboard.
Then, try to shimmy as close as you can to the wall.
Step your feet up until you are in an L-shaped position.
Adjust the space to make it more relaxing. Place a pillow beneath your head or place your arms on your belly.
Focus on your breathing – take a slow, deep inhale and exhale, both through your nostrils.
For best results, try to hold the Legs Up The Wall position for 10 – 15 minutes.
Legs Up The Wall is a pose that we can all do after a long day at work or any other time when our bodies are tense.
The Legs-Up the Wall pose has many benefits:
It relaxes the mind and body. Legs Up The Wall is an excellent way to calm nerves and feel better. You will be able to relax deeply, release tension and anxiety, and return to balance. The body can be brought back to its innate ability for relaxation, self-healing, and rest.
This pose increases circulation. It can reverse gravity’s effect on the lower body. This pose also improves lymphatic flow and venous drainage for those with low blood pressure or who spend most of their day standing. Elevating your legs helps to drain excess fluid and improve circulation by returning blood to the body.
It soothes muscle cramps – This is one of the most effective ways to relieve tension and help swollen, cramped, or swollen legs and feet. It can be therapeutic following a flight, physical exercise, or the negative effects of standing/sitting all day. Legs Up the Wall is also a great way to relax the pelvic floor and relieve menstrual cramps, as well as other issues such as backaches, headaches, and abdominal pains. This position allows the pelvic muscles to naturally relax and release (even more so with a pillow under the pelvis), resulting in an exercise that is beneficial for hypertonic (tense pelvic floor).
Stretches your hamstrings- The legs Up The Wall pose gently stretches hamstrings as well as glutes. It also relieves pressure on your lower back. The angle of your body in this pose reduces the curve of your lumbar spine. This will stretch and elongate the muscles of the back. Your hamstrings will be tested more if you place your hips closer to the wall. This exercise improves your flexibility while providing a gentle boost.
Releases lower back tension – The legs Up The Wall pose releases pressure and tightness in the lumbar area, as well as relaxing the muscles. In a supine (especially on a cushion or bed) position, pressure is released off the spine. This relieves mild strain. The hamstrings are gently stretched, as is the back of your neck.
Reduces headaches and migraines – Since most headaches are tension-related, Legs Up the Wall helps to stretch and relax the muscles of your neck, shoulders, and back while improving blood circulation to your head.
Improves digestion – By combining Legs Up the Wall and rhythmic, slow breathing, you can activate your “rest & digest” nervous system. This state allows your body to digest and repair the body actively.
Enhances sleep – Legs up the Wall is an incredibly relaxing pose. Combining the semi-supine position of your legs with controlled breathing, you will experience a slowing in your body. The result is a lower heart rate, which in turn triggers relaxation and reduces anxiety, stress, and insomnia. If you have trouble sleeping, this pose can help.
Quiets the mind – Relaxing your body while focusing on deep breaths in Legs Up the Wall will help you achieve a meditative condition. You’ll feel bliss and peace as you surrender, breathe and let go.
You get all the benefits of an inversion without any effort – Legs Up The Wall can increase your energy, reverse gravity’s effects on the entire system, balance blood pressure, and ease pain. This pose is much easier to do, but you still get the same benefits as an active inversion.
Studies have shown that Restorative Yoga poses (specifically Legs Up the Wall), can benefit those who suffer from:
Thread the Needle
The Thread, the Needle positioned against a wall, can be a great way to stretch your hips and piriformis muscles. Release of tension in the hips creates a feeling of ease in the whole body, especially in the lower back and knees, and also mental clarity.
Start by lying on your back. Place your soles flat on the floor about hip distance apart. Bend your knees. You can graze your heels with your fingertips by walking your heels towards your body.
Keep your right foot active and flexed so that your toes are facing the right knee. To protect your knee from injury, keep your right leg bent for the entire duration of the pose.
Place your left foot on the wall and bend your left knee.
Lower your left foot. Make sure that your shin is parallel to the floor.
You can hold this position for up to five minutes. This will stretch your hips and thighs.
Repeat the process on the opposite side.
You will feel a stretch on your inner tights and hips with this variation.
Place the soles of your feet together with your knees facing outwards, left and right.
Slowly move your feet towards your hips while bending your knees.
If you want to deepen your stretch, gently press your knees against the wall.
You can relax into this pose without straining to lift your legs.
Legs Up The Wall: When to avoid it
You may be concerned about a stronger blood flow in your head.
You may be at risk for hernias, hypertension, or glaucoma.
Some teachers advise you to avoid this pose on days when your flow is heavy during your period.
Tips for beginners
Avoid bringing the body up to a 90-degree angle, as this may impede hip circulation. Slide your hips away from the wall a few inches and raise your hips with a cushion placed under your sacrum.
You may feel a tingling in your les, or even lower back when you perform Legs Up The Wall. You may also feel as if your legs have fallen asleep. Shake your legs vigorously to increase circulation.
Video: Legs up the wall pose relaxation & meditation
The Legs-Up the Wall pose is an excellent way to relax. This 10-minute video will help you relax and release tension from your back and legs.
This video is a part of the 30-day meditation challenge (click here to join). This free program will help you find focus and balance with yoga and meditation.
How long should the Legs Up The Wall pose be performed?
For comfort, lie flat on your back. Keep space between your hips and the ground. Both legs should be lifted towards the ceiling. This position can be held for up to 20 minutes or until it becomes uncomfortable.
Who shouldn’t do Legs Up The Wall?
When you are on your period, inverted poses such as the Legs Up The Wall pose can be dangerous. Talk to your doctor if you suffer from certain medical conditions (such as glaucoma, high blood pressure, or eczema) that can worsen symptoms.
Can the Legs Up the Wall pose help you lose weight?
This pose will not help you to lose weight or reduce belly fat. Legs up the wall pose require too little effort for it to be effective.