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why-legs-up-the-wall-resized

Sometimes, the best things in life are the simplest. That was true when I was a child: When my babysitter brought pink nail polish, I was thrilled. Going out for ice cream with my Grandparents was one of the highlights of the year. Sitting on the rocking horse and daydreaming was one of my favorite things to do…

Alas, life gets more complicated as we get older: We have to go to school, do our homework, make friends, socialize, pick a career, make money and accumulate stuff. Once somebody has your phone number or email address, it is expected that you are available at all times. You have to do paperwork, pay your bills, pay your taxes, and play little social games in order to be liked and respected.

Oh boy…

As I get older, I feel the need to simplify my life and get back to basics, as much as I can. Because really, what is better than spending time with your loved ones? Enjoying a home-cooked meal? Cozy woolen socks to keep your feet warm in winter? Ah, the little things! One thing that certainly makes it on my list of top goodies in life is the Yoga pose Legs-Up-The-Wall. It’s so simple, and it feels sooooo good 🙂

In fact, I heard that 5 minutes in Legs-Up-The-Wall can be as rejuvenating as a 20- minute nap! All you need to do is lie down on your back with your sitting bones as close to a wall as possible, extend your legs and rest them comfortably against the wall. If you like, elevate your pelvis slightly by putting a folded blanket underneath it. And then you’re relieved from any action or responsibility for the next 5-20 minutes – all you need to do is wait for the benefits of this pose to enter your body 😉

And there are many:

  • It can reduce swelling in the feet and legs caused by stagnant lymph fluid and water retention
  • You allow your leg muscles to fully relax and release any built-up tension
  • It guides the flow of blood, lymph and other fluids into the lower belly and upper body, which may improve digestive and reproductive functioning
  • Its effects on blood circulation can help regulate blood pressure and give you a gentle energy boost
  • It can aid in reducing menstrual cramps
  • It can help soothe lower back pain
  • It’s very calming to the nervous system, especially when held for at least 5 minutes and combined with deep, steady breathing

It’s a very grounding and nourishing pose: As in all inversions, your head is below your heart, which symbolizes the surrender of thinking mind and ego to the wisdom of the heart. Also, after practicing Legs-Up-The-Wall I always feel closer to the earth and very well grounded.

To get out of the pose, bend your knees towards your chest, roll to the side and slowly come up to a seated position.

Another interesting aspect about this pose is the inherent principle of receiving over giving, of being over doing: The Sanskrit name for this pose is Viparita Karani, Viparita meaning “inverted”, and Karani meaning “in action”. Yes, you reverse the blood flow in your legs, but that’s not all: You also reverse the whole idea of being in action. By simply holding this pose, breathing, and doing nothing else, you are able to really experience the concept of opening up to receiving. There’s no straining here, it’s a very simple pose that simply feels good – yet the effects can be very powerful!

When was the last time you allowed yourself to simply be? It only takes 5 minutes – so why not? 😉

Love and hugs!

Paula