Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani) via flckr https://www.flickr.com/photos/kellinahandbasket/5238813733/
Pronunciation: VIP-uh-REE-tuh kah-RAH-nee
Pose Type: Reclining Pose

Legs Up the Wall pose is a rejuvenating inversion that brings relief to the feet, spine, and nervous system. It is a gentle way to bring the body into a state of deep relaxation and renewal. It is recommended for all levels of yogis, no matter their level of practice or experience. It is an excellent pose for those with high blood pressure or anxiety as it reverses the blood flow, allowing it to travel easily back to the heart, giving the heart muscles a well-deserved break.

Due to its calming benefits, Vipariti Karana is often done at the end of a yoga practice, usually before the final relaxation pose or meditation. It can also be practiced on its own as an everyday relaxation pose and is recommended for those on their feet for long periods of time or before bedtime.

Pose Sequence

You can start this pose by sitting on the floor, with your body tucked parallel to the wall. This allows your buttocks to get very close to the wall before your roll over onto your back and spin the legs up the wall:

  1. Straighten your legs up against the wall, and wriggle toward the wall until your buttocks are touching the wall.
  2. You can add a folded blanket under the pelvis if that feels good.
  3. Keep the legs straight while flexing the feet and allow the gentle extension of the back of the legs to happen.
  4. Soften the eyes and stay very heavy on the floor.

Releasing from the pose is usually done by bending the knees and rolling over to one side to sit up and release from the connection to the wall.

Benefits of Legs Up the Wall Pose

The benefits of this pose include:

  • Calms the mind and aids anxiety, headaches, and insomnia
  • Aids the digestive system and improves varicose veins
  • Helps regulate the body’s blood pressure
  • Relieves tired or cramped legs
  • Gently stretches the hamstrings and back of the neck

Viparita Karani is an excellent alternative for those who are just starting a meditation practice. It is a peaceful resting pose that relieves the painful or overworked feelings common in the legs and feet.

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By Virginia O'Connor

Co-founder of AudibleYoga.com and writer/content manager.