One of my favorite poses in yoga is called Legs-up-the-wall or Viparita Karani in Sanskrit. It is utterly simple and everyone can do it. It is also the best way I know to get some oxygenated blood flowing to my brain cells and throw off mental fatigue, while getting rid of heaviness and minor swelling in my lower extremities.
A wall. Optional: a blanket or bolster.
Either sit sideways with your outer hip against the wall then swing your legs up the wall as you lie down on your back. And if that sounds too complicated (it really isn’t but…) you can just lie down close to the wall and bring your legs up. Then move your buttocks as close to the wall as is comfortable.
Note: if your hamstrings (the back of your thighs) are on the tight side, you may prefer having your buttocks a few inches away from the wall.
My favorite version of this pose is with the hips slightly elevated (as shown in the photo below).
You can place a folded blanket underneath your sacrum/lower back area, or even a bolster (if you have one). You can also raise that support and stack several blankets. Play with it. Having the hips elevated creates more of an inversion effect. You end up having not only your legs higher than your hips, but your hips higher than your heart, itself higher than your head. You will feel a tiny bit more pressure moving towards your head. Personally I love that sensation. It is slight enough to remain comfortable, yet makes me acutely aware of the flow of energy moving back towards my vital organs, heart, lungs and brain, where I need it most!
If you feel your legs parting, especially as you relax, then use a yoga strap (or any belt) at mid-thigh level to hold them together.
Place an eye pillow over your eyes. I love those! If you’re like me and your eyes are sensitive to light and tire easily I think you’ll love an eye pillow too. The slight pressure of the pillow works on energy points to relieve fatigue, while your eyes bathe in complete darkness, something that helps tremendously to access deep relaxation.
Viparita Karani is a wonderful pick-me-up pose for whenever you feel tired physically and/or mentally:
In the middle of the day.
After an intense workout
At the end of your work day and before your evening starts.
Right before bed if your nervous system is so revved up that you need to calm down in order to fall asleep
Even in the morning if you had a really bad night sleep.
Hold this pose for 5-20mn.
Next time you feel like reaching for a cookie, chocolate bar or coffee to perk you up, remember Viparita Karani and use it as a substitute. I’d love to hear about your experience with this pose. Go to the comment section below and share freely. Questions welcome too!
Take good care my friend,