Viparita Karani or legs-up-the-wall is one of the best yoga postures to use for back issues and overall relaxation. While not considered an inversion, it benefits the body by helping the blood circulate toward the upper body and head, thus creating a feeling of restoration. It helps realign the body after prolonged standing or sitting and is particularly nice if you’re feeling stressed, fatigued, or even jet-lagged. It’s a posture that promotes the feeling of the myriad of positive results of doing less, not more. It creates a paradigm shift in the mind and activates the relaxation response in the parasympathetic nervous system (a countering of the fight or flight response in the sympathetic nervous system).
In Yin Yoga, a more passive and meditative form of yoga, this posture targets the kidney and benefits the urinary bladder meridian. It helps to reduce swelling in the body and tempers overall anxiety. It’s also effective for fatigue and insomnia. Note: Another variation of this posture is legs up the chair.
- Alleviates headaches
- Boosts energy
- Can help to soothe menstrual cramps (some yoga traditions advice against doing Viparita Karani during menstruation)
- Relieves lower-back pain
Contraindications: Glaucoma, Hypertension, Hernia