Legs Up The Wall – Viparita Karani
This movement allows the body to relax and the mind to become still. The chest is opened, allowing the breath to come easier, also facilitating the quietening of the mind, as well as providing a gentle shoulder stretch. This movement also helps to prevent varicose veins by reversing blood pooling in the lower limbs, and relieves indigestion. NB: If you do not have a bolster or blankets available then you can simply do without.
Contraindications: In some schools of yoga this movement is classed as an inversion and is advised to be avoided during menstruation, or practiced without height under the pelvis.
For this pose you will need a bolster and two blankets. Place the bolster parallel to the wall with one blanket on top of the bolster. Have the other blanket on your mat in front of you, about five inches away from your bolster. If you do not have a bolster or blankets available then you can simply do without.
Begin by sitting in vajrasana, focusing in on your breath.
Now come to the right side of your bolster and place your right hip on the bolster. Make sure that both buttocks are against the wall.
Lay the entire length of your right arm along the floor and then roll over onto your back, so that your feet are pointing directly up toward the ceiling.
Place your arms beside you, a good distance away from your body with the back of your palms on the floor. Rest your head on the folded blanket.
Keep your legs lengthening up toward the ceiling so that throughout the pose they stay straight but not hard.
Allow your chest, abdomen and pelvis to expand and relax, creating space for your baby.
Close your eyes and focus in your breath, taking long, smooth and even breaths.
Allow the mind to become quiet and calm by counting your breaths, exhale count one, inhale count two and so on until you get to ten, then go back to one, exhaling on the odd numbers and inhaling on the even numbers.
If the mind wanders and you lose count or realise you are inhaling on the odd numbers, return to one. Experience the serenity of the pose.
Keep focusing on your breath, counting to ten.
To come out of the pose slowly bend your knees, placing your feet on the wall. Move your head blanket out of the way and slide yourself back, until your back is flat on the floor. Bring the soles of your feet together and your knees apart on top of the bolster, to rest in baddha konasana for a few breaths.
When you are ready to come out, inhale your right arm above your head and roll to your right. Bring your left arm onto the floor in front of you and slowly push yourself upright. Come to sitting in vajrasana, taking deep breaths here.