Viparita Karani (vip-par-ee-tah car-AHN-ee) or legs up the wall is a personal and a student favorite.
Viparita Karani is a gentle, restorative inversion and a wonderful way to relax. Benefits of this posture, include relieving tired or cramped legs and feet, gently stretches the back legs, front body, and the back of the neck. It can also relieve mild backaches and calms the mind.
Grab a blanket/towel or pillow if you prefer a little extra cusion and head to the nearest wall. Begin by sitting next to a wall with one side of your body against the wall and your knees bent into the chest. Bring the lower back onto the floor while bringing the legs up the wall so your heels are resting on the wall. Slowly release the elbows and lower thewhole back down to the floor. If you have any low back or neck pain, fold a yoga blanket or towel (or pillow) and
place one under the low back and also under the neck. Keep your legs relatively firm, just enough to hold them vertically in place without “locking” the knees.
Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Be sure not to twist off the support when coming out. Instead, slide off the support onto the floor before turning to the side. You can also bend your knees and push your feet against the wall to lift your pelvis off the support. Then slide the support to one side, lower your pelvis to the floor, and turn to the side. Stay on your side for a few breaths, and come up to sitting with an exhale.
Try Viparita Karani to relieve anxiety, arthritis, digestive problems, headache, high and low blood pressure, insomnia, migraine, mild depression, respiratory ailments, urinary disorders, varicose veins, menstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome and menopause.
As with any inversion Viparita Karani should be avoided if you have serious eye problems, such as glaucoma. With serious neck or back problems only perform this pose with the supervision of a teacher. If your feet begin to tingle during this pose, bend your knees, touch your soles together, and slide the outer edges of your feet down the wall, bringing your heels close to your pelvis.