Legs Up The Wall
- Move your mat to be perpendicular to a wall. Lie on your back on the mat.
- Draw your knees in and drop your legs over to one side.
- Skootch your tush up as close to the wall as you can.
- Lift and extend your legs, letting the backs of the legs rest against the wall.
- Rest your arms flat on the floor. Close your eyes. Relax here for a few minutes, letting the breath grow deep and even.
- To come out, drop the legs off to one side and skootch backwards until you’re able to roll up to a seated position.
This relaxing pose bestows the benefits of any inverted pose – inversions alter the flow of blood in the body, calming the mind, helping with depression, and stimulating the thyroid gland. Placing the body in an inverted pose also works the internal organs and the abdomen, aiding digestion. However, legs-up-the-wall doesn’t require the strength or stamina needed for other inversions like headstand or shoulderstand. Most students can accomplish this pose.
Inversions are contraindicated for headache and high blood pressure. Some sources say not to practice inversions while menstruating.
My Experience with Legs Up The Wall:
When I was taking vinyasa yoga classes, I had never heard of this pose, so I only began practicing it in the past few years. I love how relaxing the pose feels, how I’m able to let my mind rest. I also love the simplicity of it – I’m able to achieve this pose no matter how I feel that day. As a teacher, my only frustration with legs-up-the-wall is that my front porch doesn’t have enough wall space for all the students in my little class to be able to do this pose at once!
Are there sources that suggest not to practice legs up the wall while menstruating? I completely believe you; I’ve just always learned the delineation applied to inversions that elevate the uterus above the heart center (since with legs up the wall, they’re basically parallel, this was always exempted in the instruction I received). As someone with a menstrual disorder, reading about the theories and evidence behind various recommendations (regardless of what I choose to do or not to do in my own practice) is intriguing to me.
I actually had trouble finding sources for this one – it’s not in my Yoga Anatomy book or listed on yogajournal.com, which are my two go-to sources, so I just wrote this post based on my own knowledge. I’ve always heard the menstruation thing about inversions in general but never about this pose specifically.
I love this pose anytime, very refreshing. My little trick to getting my “tush” up close to the wall is this. sit along the wall, knees bent, so your shoulder is touching the wall, then rotate your body so that your feet are up and your tush is touching, Less “skutching” then!
I love the blog, Dave.
Good trick! Thanks, Dave!
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