“Letting go a little improves life. Letting go a lot brings happiness and joy” Jim McGregor
Honestly, this has got to be one easiest ways to deeply rest your body. Not too mention the health benefits for your adrenals, circulation, organs, heart, aching legs and nervous system. So much better for you than having another cup of coffee and soldiering on.
Trust me, you’ve got to try this restorative yoga pose and experience it for yourself. After 5 minutes of chillaxing with your “legs up the wall”, you’ll feel so much better. All you need is a floor and a wall. Blankets and cushions are handy optional extras.
It’s a super easy way to help alleviate many of the symptoms which come from leading a stressful life. Here’s a list of the main health benefits that you can expect when you practice this posture regularly.
* Calms your nervous system
* Brings fresh blood & lymph fluid into your abdomen & organs – very refreshing
* Relieves tension in lower back & sacrum
* Helpful for minor depression & anxiety
* Relaxes your adrenals
* Calms your mind
* Reduces swelling in your feet and legs
* Releases tension and stress from your legs – they will feel lighter
* Rests your heart as your feet are above the heart – reversing effects of gravity
Before you start:
Grab a few cushions, blankets or a bolster just in case you decide you need a few under your buttocks to feel extra comfortable and supported.
The key is for your stomach and pelvis to be even with each other and your lower ribs and kidneys on the pile of blankets and head lower than heart.
I also love using my yoga eye pillow as it relaxes my eye muscles and helps deepen the relaxation experience. A light blanket is also handy as your body tends to cool down when you relax.
Getting into legs up the wall:
1: Sit next to wall with your knees bent and your left shoulder and left hip against the wall.
2: Swing around to bring your bottom up close to the wall supporting yourself on your elbows and forearms. If you are using a bolster have that against the wall first and then swing around and up onto it. Your pelvis and stomach should be even with lower ribs and kidneys on the blankets.
3: Slowly move your legs straight up the wall. Keep them relaxed. Come away from the wall if your hamstrings are tight (like mine) or tailbone and buttocks are lifting off the floor. Remember being extra comfortable is important.
4: Use a folded blanket under your head if necessary. Make sure your chin is slightly lower than your forehead. Your neck must feel comfortable, without any tightness or pinching at the nape. If blood flow to the head is obstructed, the brain cannot relax. A towel rolled and placed under your neck can also be helpful. Take your time and do what feels right for you today.
5: Place your arms out by your side with your palms turned up. This opens up the area under your arm pits and gives space to your chest and heart area.
6: Breath slowly and deeply. Enjoy the release of tension from your legs, your spine being able to relax and chest area more open.
7: To finish simply bring your knees to your chest and very, very gently roll out to your right side. Wait for a few minutes before you get up. This is very important – gives your blood pressure time to adjust.
How long for:
Judith Lasater in her book Relax and Renew recommends at least 5 minutes to 9 minutes – longer if you feel comfortable. I personally like around 10 – 15 minutes at the end of the day or just before bed.
Legs up the wall is generally not recommend for those menstruating, with retinal problems, after third month of pregnancy and heart problems. Check with your yoga teacher first.
My favourite book for the year:
The Path of Practice: A Woman’s Book of Healing With Food, Breath and Sound by Maya Tiwari
Don’t you love it when a book really resonates with you.
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