Restorative Yoga Pose of the Week – Legs Up the Wall

katieyoga-0188

Legs up the wall is an inversion that helps reverse the natural blood flow and pooling of blood in the feet.  This pose can be practiced everyday and is beneficial to reduce fatigue and swelling in the legs and can be a nice relief after standing on your feet all day.  This pose may help lower blood pressure for those with mild hypertension.  This pose will neutralize energy in the body and you may feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings.

Always advise your doctor before beginning any type of yoga practice.  Avoid this pose if you have high uncontrolled blood pressure, heart problems, retinal issues, spondylolisthesis, or spondylolysis.  If you experience any pressure in your head, avoid this pose and try a gentler inversion.  Avoid this pose if you are more than 3 months pregnant or have a heavy menstruation.

You don’t need any props to enjoy this pose(especially if you are traveling), but may enjoy this pose more with the use of props.  You will want to have a couple of blankets, bolster, eye pillow, and perhaps a sandbag.  Sit with either your right or left hip against the wall and start to lean back while swinging your legs up the wall.  Experiment with different distances from the wall as you do not need to be right against it.  If using props, experiment with a tri-folded blanket or bolster under your hips.  You may want to place a neck roll underneath your neck for added support.  Place your arms out to the side or in a “t.”  You can place a sandbag on the tops of your feet for added weight and an eye pillow to reduce stimulation.  You can have a slight bend in your knees if your hamstrings are tight and you can place the soles of your feet against the wall for more comfort.  You may consider adding a blanket on top of your chest or wrapping a blanket around your legs as your body temperature will cool during this pose.

Once you are settled into the pose, begin your rhythmic inhales and exhales.  You may notice sensation in your legs as the blood travels down towards your heart and brain.  Stay in this pose as long as it is comfortable.  Average time may be 7 to 15 minutes.

When you are ready to come out of the pose, remove any eye pillows and blankets.  You can either push your body off of your props and away from the wall or roll onto your side with your knees in your chest and in a side-lying position.  Spend a moment or two here adjusting to the pose.

Watch Katie demonstrate how to set up this pose:

Resources:

Carey, L. (2015). Restorative yoga therapy: The Yapana way to self-care and well-being.
Forbes, B. (2011). Yoga for emotional balance: Simple practices to help relieve anxiety and depression. Boston: Shambhala.
Lasater, J. (1995). Relax and renew: Restful yoga for stressful times. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.