This asana has profound effects and is easy to set up and do almost anywhere. By reversing the flow of gravity, Legs Up the Wall relaxes, renews, and rejuvenates the nervous system, toning the vagus nerve. It calms the mind, relieves anxiety and headaches, brings serenity and peace, and heightens self-awareness. Ancient yoga texts even claim that the pose will destroy old age!
How to do Viparita Karani
- Find an uncluttered wall and move any furniture out of the way.
- Set up a folded blanket or cushion about three feet from the wall – this is for your head.
- Sit on the floor with one shoulder near the wall, thighs parallel to the wall. Roll back, swinging your legs up the wall.
- Rest your head on the blanket. If this is not in the right place gently lift the hand and move the blanket to a position that supports the natural neck curve and head.
- Ensure your tail bone and buttocks are not lifting and your lower back is not rounded. If this is happening move away from the wall so that your lower back is supported by the floor.
- Make sure your chin is slightly lower than your forehead but do not flatten your neck, keep the natural curve.
- Keep legs straight up but relaxed. For those with any lower back issues, knees bent and feet on the wall is often more comfortable.
- Place arms by the sides with palms facing up in a gesture of receptivity.
- Close your eyes and take slow deep breaths. Stay from 5-30 minutes until you feel the need to come out.
- To come out, bend the knees to the chest and roll gently to one side before coming up. Bring the head as the last part to come upright.
- More than three months pregnant or risk of miscarriage
As with all yoga practices it is best to take instruction with a qualified teacher and consult your doctor first before undertaking exercise if you have any health issues.