Viparita Karani literally Upside-Down is considered alternately as an asana or a mudra in haṭha yoga.
When using support: If you have any lower back pain, support your body by placing a yoga block or folded blankets on the ground beneath your back. When positioning your support, you must consider its height and its distance from the wall. Be honest with yourself to avoid straining any muscles! If you are not very flexible, your support should be lower to the ground and farther from the wall. If you are flexible, keep your support higher and closer to the wall. Your sitting bones do not need to be against the wall, rather “dripping” down into the space between the wall and your support. Keep a gentle arc in your torso from the pubis to the top of the shoulders.
If your neck feels strained, place a small, rolled-up towel under it. Cover your eyes with the other towel and keep your them closed for 5 – 15 minutes as you soften and release. Rest your arms out to your sides. Open your shoulder blades away from the spine, relaxing your hands and wrists. Keep your legs held vertically in place, but only partially flexed.
Release the weight of your belly toward the back of the pelvis, deeply into the torso. Soften the eyes and turn them down towards your heart. After you come out of this restorative pose, be sure to lie on your side for a few breaths before sitting upright with your back against the wall, then slowly rising to your feet.
Benefits of Legs Up the Wall Pose:
- Regulates blood flow
- Alleviates menstrual cramps
- Relieves swollen ankles and varicose veins
- Helps testicular, semen, and ovarian problems in men and women respectively
- Improves digestion
- Restores tired feet or legs
- Stretches the back of the neck, front torso, and back of the legs
- Improves problems of the eyes and ears
- Relieves mild backache
- Provides migraine and headache relief, especially when done with a bandage wrapped tightly around the forehead and back of the skull
- Helps keep you young and vital
- Calms anxiety
- Relieves symptoms of mild depression and insomnia