Are you excited? You’re reading the first post in a fun new series for 2012 on my lovely little blog that will highlight a “yogalicious” pose of the month! For this purpose, yogalicious means a pose/asana that is making me feel particularly awesome lately or may be challenging me in a way that I need to explore it more – and share with you! (The lovely Downward Dog wrote a little more about yogaliciousness, check it out here)
Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall)
Yes readers, I’m starting the series with an excellent restorative pose that has been extremely beneficial to me these past 2 weeks of getting back to work after the holidays. If you’ve never done this pose, now is a great time to start (well, after you’re done reading this post of course!). Do you have an overly busy mind, lots of stress lately, or maybe tired legs from standing all day? Then I highly recommend throwing your legs up in this position and enjoy sinking into the pose. But, before you do, keep in mind the cautions for this pose:
- if you have neck issues, make sure your neck and shoulders are flat on the floor (avoid this pose if you have a serious neck or back condition)
- do no practice during menstruation
- do not practice if you have glaucoma
- if you have another condition or injury that you are worried about, definitely check with your local yoga teacher to see if you should proceed
Let’s get you started… Pick a wall that doesn’t have any awesome pictures hanging on it, you don’t want to knock down that ol’ family photo do you? When ready, place a wooden block lengthwise against the wall and then a bolster beside it (alternatively, just place the bolster lengthwise against the wall). Sit on the middle of the bolster with your left hip against the wall with knees bent. Place your hands flat on the floor behind you for support, turn your torso towards the wall while lifting your legs onto the wall one by one. Keeping your buttocks close to the wall, slowly lean back and lie down, supporting yourself with your hands. Try to keep your buttocks as close to the wall as you can, adjust if necessary, making sure to support your head and neck and then straighten your legs. Spread your arms out to the sides, palms facing up. Breathe softly and evenly, relaxing into the pose – allow your shoulders to relax and your chest/abdomen expand normally as you inhale and exhale. Close your eyes and enjoy the complete relaxation and serenity of the pose. Stay in the pose for 3 – 4 minutes, gradually increasing the time when comfortable.
Benefits listed for this pose are:
- relieves fatigue in the legs and feet
- calms the nervous system, relieve headaches
- helps to prevent varicose veins, alleviates arthritis symptoms, and increases circulation
- relaxes the mind, relieves mild depression, stress, and anxiety
Benefits I experience in or after this pose:
- pure relaxation! I love sinking into this pose and letting my worries slip off of me for the 5-10 minutes I am in it. I’m not sure what it is, but I can quiet my mind more in this pose than in Savasana (sometimes I could almost fall asleep in this pose!)
- calms me, especially in times of stress or anxiety
- makes my legs feel light and refreshed
- if I’m needing to think about something, or reflect, this is a good pose to be in – if I’m sitting around thinking, why not be in a yoga pose?
- in general, this pose just makes me feel that little bit better when I need it – especially this week of deep freeze temperatures in this lovely city with my S.A.D. kicking in at full force. When I start to feel angry about it (even though I know I shouldn’t), it’s time to throw my legs up the wall and just let things be as they are. This weather shall pass. : )
I’m sure there are many more benefits that could be listed, if you want to know more ask your local yoga teacher and then feel free to give this pose a try. I sure hope it makes you feel yogalicious too! ॐ
Have you tried this pose before? What benefits do you experience from it?