Viparita Karani - (helpfully translated as the...)Legs Up the Wall Pose
The transition in to autumn is particularly noticeable this year. So many of us are suffering with colds and snuffles, waning energy levels and a general low ebb. Can you relate to that? Are you also sneaking the radiators on and just wanting to slump on the sofa on an evening as the nights draw in earlier and earlier?
You may also be aware that the past few weeks have whizzed by at full speed, especially those of us getting back in to a routine after the summer holiday.
There is a way that you can use yoga at home, work...anywhere that you can create a few minutes for yourself to just rest. Not everyone can pair together the words yoga and rest, at a time where we are all so body conscious and encouraged to move more.
This is where Restorative Yoga comes in to its own. Quite simply, allowing the body to settle in a safe and supported position for the benefit of the body and the mind.
This is one of the most basic yet amazing ways that you can gift yourself a bit of time out, and my students this week have all been enjoying this position...
To gain the benefits of an inversion without the effort or ability level.
To reverse the effects of gravity on the whole system.
To regulate blood pressure, move stuck fluids and improve digestion. This accelerates the lymphatic drainage and circulatory systems so also great for tired, puffy feet and legs, fluid retention and varicose veins.
To work with the central nervous system to initiate the rest and digest response. In other words, letting go of stress and tension.
The important bit - not to be attempted without medical permission if you are suffering with eye disorders such as glaucoma or major heart conditions. If you are menstruating you may not want to attempt this, or at least keep the legs low and only stay for a short while. Likewise in pregnancy, you should not lay on your back for more than five minutes from twenty weeks onwards, and definitely not after thirty six weeks when we want to encourage optimal foetal positioning. Take caution too if you have spinal or neck problems.
So, you've heard about why you should do this and if you can...this doesn't take a great deal of planning but you may want to find a warm cosy space. I would encourage you to use a chair to support your legs for your first attempt and then find your wall. You should aim to spend five minutes here to reap the rewards, but you can actually hang around here for up to twenty minutes to give yourself an extra treat. Maybe you want some background music, a blanket, something to drape over your eyes. Rolled up blankets or towels and cushions are fantastic to provide additional support, particularly under tight necks and stiff backs. Have a play around - see what feels comfortable.
You can set yourself a timer - I've mentioned before the Insight Timer App. This is perfect for setting yourself a stop clock and choosing a chime or bell to alert you when it is time to return to normality. As the minutes tick by, feel your body settling...your muscles relaxing. All of your tension melting away. You can scan your body for tightness and soften where required and this is the perfect time to just tune in and follow your breathing.
This really is such a simple yet fantastic way to spend some time. Your time-out at the start or end of a long day.
Enjoy...and do let me know how you get on.