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Legs Up the Wall Pose (viparita karani)

Inversion that reduces stress and lowers your blood pressure.

Legs Up the Wall Pose (or viparita karani) is a restorative pose that helps reduce tension in your head, neck and shoulders and improves your circulation. This pose can also help reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, help relieve insomnia and relieve tiredness in your legs and feet.
It is important to correctly align your spine in Legs Up the Wall Pose. To ensure your spine is straight, keep your head in line with your spine and your shoulders in line with your hips.
If your legs feel tight in this pose, try sitting farther away from the wall. If you are more flexible, you can sit closer to the wall. Once you find the distance that is most comfortable for you, make sure your legs and upper body feel fully supported by the wall and floor.
Avoid this pose if you have neck or back problems, low blood pressure or if you are menstruating. Also, use caution performing this pose if you have eye problems, such as glaucoma.
Position a folded blanket approximately 3 inches away from a wall.
Sit on the blanket beside the wall, with your legs extended and your left side facing the wall.
Lower your upper body to the floor as you swing your legs up onto the wall.
(Your hips should be comfortably resting on the blanket. Your shoulders should be resting on the floor.)
(Make sure your legs are straight but your knees are not locked. Your feet should be hip width apart.)
Place your arms on the floor a comfortable distance away from your body, with your palms facing up.
(Your shoulders and arms should be relaxed.)
Exhale as you relax your head, neck and spine toward the floor.
Hold the pose for 5 to 15 minutes.
To come out of the pose, bend your knees and place your feet on the wall. Then roll onto your right side. Lie on your right side until you are ready to return to a seated position.
Can I stretch my inner thighs while performing Legs Up the Wall Pose?
Yes. You can modify the pose to provide a stretch to your inner thighs. Perform the pose as described above, except separate your legs until they form a V shape on the wall.
I adjusted my distance from the wall, but my legs still feel tight. What should I do?
To reduce the tightness in your legs, you can modify the pose by bending your knees and placing your feet flat on the wall. This modification is also useful if your head, neck or back feels strained.
How can I modify the pose to help open my hips and groin?
You can change the position of your feet to perform a supported Bound Angle Pose. When your legs are up on the wall, bend your legs and place the soles of your feet together. Then slide your heels down the wall toward the floor. Only bring your heels down as far as is comfortable for you.
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