By Alana Bray, Owner of Yoga Bound Happy June! Summer is just around the corner and most of us will fill up our days with activity, sunshine, and travel. While all these happy themes of summer are fantastic, they can take a toll on the body. Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall) is one of the best poses you can do to restore and replenish your cells from a day of activity, sunshine and travel. Also known as Inverted Lake, this pose is a mild inversion that has anti-aging and therapeutic circulatory benefits. Many old Hindu scriptures like the Hatha Yoga Pradipika claim that with this pose "Grey hairs and wrinkles will become inconspicuous". Although some of these scriptures should be taken with a grain of salt, it won't hurt to do it after some long days spent out in the sun this summer.
If you are like me, after traveling, I feel tight, energetically congested and swollen in my feet. The first thing I do when I get to rest is put my legs up the wall for 10 minutes. This is also a very grounding pose, nice after a day of flying up in the air. With long, slow, deep belly breaths, this pose relieves my swelling, travel angst, and I feel fresh, calm and centered.
How to: Start seated with one hip close to the wall. Lower to forearms, and on an exhale, gracefully swing both legs up the wall. Scoot your sit bones as close to the wall as is comfortable, making sure your tailbone stays on the earth and your shoulders are relaxed. Option to place a blanket or bolster under your pelvis for added support and inversion for your abdominal muscles. It is also nice to loop a strap around the calves to hold your legs for extra relaxation. Stay here for 5-10 minutes with conscious breaths.
- Calms the mind
- Relieves swelling in the feet and ankles
- Assists circulatory system
- Gently stretches the back of the legs
- Softens the shoulders and neck