Yoga Legs up the Wall

The best pose to keep you cool, calm and collected this silly season

As the year peters out and we slide into summer holiday mode (punctuated by Christmas, of course), it’s easy to feel consumed with busy-ness, overstimulation and heat!

A full roster of social events, family catch-ups, extra Travel and expenses can lead to feelings of overwhelm, stress, fatigue — even guilt and irritation around the seasonal expectation to be full of “Christmas cheer” at this time of year.

In the spirit of giving and maintaining an even keel during the festive season, Legs Up The Wall pose (viparita karani) offers a wonderful opportunity to retreat within and receive a gift of deep rest and rejuvenation. Best of all, this gift is free, healthy and suitable for just about anyone!

Legs Up The Wall pose (viparita karani) offers a wonderful opportunity to retreat within and receive a gift of deep rest and rejuvenation.

Within the yoga pose family, viparita karani is considered both a forward bend and an inversion. Forward bends encourage us to fold into ourselves, to retreat and pause for introspection. Taking time out from socialising, talking and being “on” is particularly beneficial for the introverts among us, allowing a re-energising pit-stop.

 Positioning the legs upside-down in this pose serves to refresh tired legs by reversing the of usual blood flow from the toes to torso. Aside from being quite fun and child-like, spending time upside-down can encourage us to view things from a different perspective. This can be particularly useful over Christmas, when we may find ourselves in different situations and mixing with an unfamiliar crowd.

Both forward bends and inversions have a cooling effect on body and mind, making legs up the wall a steamy summer’s day favourite.

Ready to try Legs Up The Wall?

Gather your yoga mat, a small cushion and, for extra ahhhs, an eye pillow. Find a quiet space by a wall where you won’t be disturbed for a little while.

Move the short edge of your mat up against the wall. Place your cushion mid-way down your mat, and have your eye-pillow handy.

Getting into the pose
To come into this pose, sit side-on close the wall, toward the edge of your mat. Carefully lower your outer shoulder to the floor, roll onto your back and swing your legs up the wall. Make any adjustments to your position so you are lying straight and comfortably on your mat. (Sometimes it takes a few goes to come into this pose gracefully. Take your time and have fun with it!)

In the pose
Squish your cushion under your head and neck so you feel completely comfortable and supported. Wriggle and re-adjust until everything feels just right, then cover your eyes and allow yourself to melt.

Practice notes

  • Rest the arms and hands a little away from your body, palms facing up and fingers gently curled.
  • Let the head be as heavy as a bowling-ball.
  • Allow all the skin on the face and scalp be soft and buttery, as if falling away from the bones.
  • Sink your eyes, release your whole jawline from ears to chin.
  • Let your arms be soft and heavy.
  • Surrender your entire back to the floor.
  • Notice the belly breathing easily.
  • Ensure your legs feel totally supported by the wall — “give” your legs to the wall.
  • Imagine the long, strong bones of the legs and let their weight drop into the hip sockets, creating ease.

So long as you feel comfortable, stay for 3-20 minutes.

When ready to come out of Legs Up The Wall, draw your knees into your chest. Roll out to one side, lie there for a moment with the head supported. When you are ready, sit up and take a few moment to notice how you feel.

I hope you make time in this busy season to enjoy the generous gifts Legs Up The Wall pose has to offer.

Bronni Page

Bronni Page

Bronni Page is nuts about living a life full of fun, adventure and connection. She’s quite the "word nerd" and uses this super-power as a health and wellness writer, crafting engaging articles to inspire everyday people be their healthiest, most wonderful selves.

She’s also a qualified yoga instructor, specialising in restorative yoga (the super-relaxing, snoozy, cruisy style).

When she’s not writing for clients or embarrassing her three kids with hilarious mum jokes, you’ll find Bronni searching out the best almond cappuccino in her hometown of Newcastle, Australia.

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