Today we are talking about an interesting position, which is highly recommended to relax the lower part of your body: the Legs Up The Wall Pose.
Its name derives from the word Viparita (“inverted”, or “reversed”) and Karani (“practice”, “action”), probably to express the opposite action of sitting down.
In fact, reversing the usual position of your body, can positively affect your legs, allowing a better blood circulation and giving relief from swollen legs.
It is also a very simple pose, accessible to anyone and that has many variations too, which makes it suitable to every user, from the beginners to the advanced ones.
In this article, we will talk about the steps to complete this pose effectively, some variations for a simpler/more difficult use, we will describe all the benefits that the Viparita Karani give and some advices to get the most out of this pose.
The Legs Up The Wall Pose is considered a restful practice, as it doesn’t require effort to be done.
All you need is a wall and a yoga pad where you can rest the higher part of your body, above the legs.
It does not required a warm up, as it can be a warm up itself for more complex poses for the lower part of your body.
Put the pad in front of a wall, lay down, then slowly move your legs up to the wall, until you create and angle of 90° between your legs and torso, your legs must be straight, and your buttocks should touch the wall.
Keep the position for 5 minutes, then rest for a minute and repeat the steps for 3-4 times, or you can hold the position up to 20 minutes without reps.
As we said, the body is inverted without effort, which means that you don’t have to make a 90° angle if it is creates too much tension on your legs: you can gradually increase the angle of your legs on the walls, for example, starting from 60° and increasing it while the tension decreases.
What we described is called Uttanapadasana (“feet up pose”), in which the legs point straight up a wall, but they can also be supported with a strap/rope or free. In this version, your arms are along side your body and is easy for kids too.
In another version, called Urdhva Prasarita Padasana, you need to put your arms above your head, while the legs are in the same position as the Uttanapadasana.
If you are pregnant, you can practice an easier version, called “Wall Butterfly”, in which your legs are not straight, because your knees fall to the side (you can support your knees with both your hands).
If you are and advanced user, there are two interesting variations you can try: in the first one, you can support your buttocks with your arms.
In this case, put your elbows to the ground, raise your hips with your arms and put your legs on the wall. This version is useful to extend your spine.
The second variation is also known as the Candle Pose, or Shoulder Stand, in which all the body but your head, arms and shoulders, which give the support to the rest of your body, is vertical.
We will talk about this pose in another article, in this one we will just say to be careful of your neck and shoulders because, if you do not have a stable balance, you might hurt them.
These two are great options to improve your balance and get the same benefits as the Uttanapadasana
Pose; however, we still encourage you to use the traditional Up The Wall Pose, as it is easy and does not require any effort.
Let us focus on the benefits of this pose, but also on some contraindications for some more “fragile” users.
This pose mainly positively affects your legs, as many fluids that may stagnate in them will flow into the lower belly.
This will be a huge relief for your swollen ankles and knees, refreshing all the lower area and improving the blood circulation.
Think about this: most of the time during the day you will assume a stand or a sitting pose, which forces all the blood and fluid to gravitate toward your feet ; this automatically has a stagnant effect on the lower part of your body.
Even when you lay down and rest, you do not properly counterbalance to a neutral state of all the fluids, which implies that you will feel your feet swollen as the time goes by.
The Legs Up The Wall is one of the best yoga poses to restore the equilibrium for your body, removing the feeling of swollen ankles and feet.
It is also useful to relieve lower-back pain (thanks to the position of the coccyx) and to sooth menstrual cramps (even though other yoga practices say to avoid Viparita Karain during menstruation).
A great moment to chose this pose is after a long walk or after a period of standing, because it helps re-energize your legs.
Let us move to the contraindications: it is not advised to people with eye conditions (glaucomas, detached retina) to use this position, as all the blood will add pressure on the higher part of your body.
Because of the movement of the blood, we recommend not to use the Viparita Pose if you have high blood pressure/hypertension.
Finally, it is better to choose another pose if you have back issues, like hiatal hernias, spondylosis or similar problems. If you are pregnant, avoid this pose during your second and third trimesters.
If you do not have these problems, the Legs Up The Wall Pose will be your best ally against swollen legs and to balance the fluids in your body.