Yoga posture : Legs up the wall
I first really discovered the value of this yoga pose when I was on a city break with my two sisters in Berlin. We had taken a fantastic walking tour of the city, but it had been a long day on our feet. The guy who took the tour also ran a night time tour where we would visit some of the bars and clubs that only locals went to…my sisters were pretty keen to do this but ‘Oh man’ my legs and feet were so tired. I could have easily just stayed in. Back in the hostel before we left, I lay on my bed and put my legs up the wall for 20 minutes while my sisters did their hair and makeup. When we were ready to leave I sat up and thought ‘Wow I feel like I have brand new legs!’ I got my second wind and needless to say we hung out in some of Berlin’s coolest nightspots and didn’t get back until very late 😉
Legs up the wall or viparita karani (translates to doing nothing pose). How cool is it that there is a yoga posture that you benefit from while doing nothing! I love that!
It’s restorative and has many therapeutic benefits including:
- Aids circulation and takes pressure of the heart
- Relieves tired legs and feet (great recovery posture for the runners, triathletes, cross-fitters and mums)
- Gently stretches the hamstrings and can ease lower back pain
- Eases symptoms of PMS and menopause (Girls, this is the posture to do at that time of the month when we don’t do any inversions)
- Great for reducing the effects of jetlag (I always do this airports, on the plane if I can, and as soon as I arrive anywhere after a long haul flight and rarely get jetlag)
- Relieves insomnia (I’ve had many yoga students tell me this is a FACT!)
- Reduces stress and anxiety by calming the mind (when things get overwhelming turn upside down – it’s like hitting the reset button on the computer)
- And best of all it’s anti ageing! Who doesn’t want this?!
The thing I love the most about this posture is that it gives us permission to DO NOTHING.
I am a DO-er. I have about three of four to do lists going at any one time. There’s nothing I love more than to tick off jobs from my list. It makes me feel good. So I found this posture really hard to do at first. I would get my legs up and within less than a minute I’d have remembered something I needed to do, would jump up go and do it and then come back to the wall. I laughed when I caught myself doing this one day and thought ‘Al, come one, stop resisting this downtime. It’s ok to just be. The jobs can wait’. Such a huge revelation for me.
To actively slow down and do nothing, let the body rest on purpose (not just when you collapse into bed at the end of the day) but to schedule in time to do nothing, that is my idea of heaven and I’m now really good at it. Just gotta practice!