Viparita Karani (viparita meaning “inverted,” and karani “in action.”) or legs up the Wall is an excellent yoga posture to stretch the hamstrings, relieves lower back tension and reduce swelling or cramps that may have built up from sitting or standing for extended periods.
Steps to Perform Viparita Karani
- Sit with one hip next to a wall. Swing your legs up parallel to the wall as you lean back and rest your upper body on the ground, forming an L shape.
- If your hamstrings are tight, scoot your hips back a few inches from the wall or put a slight bend in your knees. For added support, you can also place a folded blanket or bolster beneath your low back. This will lift your butt off the ground slightly.
- In more therapeutic variation you can strap your legs together so that you can fully relax and release into the pose, without having to exert effort to hold your legs up.
- Take your right index finger to your nose and gently close the right nostril. Take five to 10 slow breaths in and out through just the left nostril, which lowers blood pressure, body temperature and anxiety.
- Release the hand and breathe slowly and deeply through both nostrils. 10-15 minutes of practice is good enough.
- Then, press the feet into the wall, lift the hips slightly, and roll to one side. Stay on your side for a few breaths, taking your time to come out of the pose.
- Blood lymph and other fluids that lead to swollen ankles, tired knees, and congested pelvic organs all through the day flow into the lower belly; this refreshes the legs and the reproductive area. This is healthy at any point in your reproductive life cycle.
- Alleviates headaches
- Boosts energy
- Soothes menstrual cramps (some yoga traditions advice against doing Viparita Karani during menstruation)
- Relieves lower-back pain
- This pose also gives blood circulation a gentle boost toward the upper body and head, which creates a pleasant rebalancing after you have been standing or sitting for a long time.
- In this position, the body actively digests anything eaten, as well as heal and repair your body. When poses like Legs Up the Wall are practiced consistently for a period of time, your body feels healthier overall, and that you are better able to find a calm state of mind.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.