Skip to main content

Yoga Pose that may have the Power to Cure whatever ails you

Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose)

Said to reverse the normal downward flow of a precious subtle fluid called amrita (immortal) or soma (extract) in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, modern yogis agree that Viparita Karani may have the power to cure whatever ails you.


Benefits

Relieves tired or cramped legs and feet
Gently stretches the back legs, front torso, and the back of the neck
Relieves mild backache
Calms the mind

Contraindications

Many teachers maintain that Viparita Karani is an inversion, and as such should be avoided during menstruation. Others though recommend the pose even during menstruation. Check with your teacher before performing this pose during menstruation. As with any inversion Viparita Karani should be avoided if you have serious eye problems, such as glaucoma. With serious neck or back problems only perform this pose with the supervision of an experienced teacher. If your feet begin to tingle during this pose, bend your knees, touch your soles together, and slide the outer edges of your feet down the wall, bringing your heels close to your pelvis.





Step by Step


The pose described here is a passive, supported variation of the Shoulderstand-like Viparita Karani. For your support you'll need one or two thickly folded blankets or a firm round bolster. 

You'll also need to rest your legs vertically (or nearly so) on a wall or other upright support.

Before performing the pose, determine two things about your support: its height and its distance from the wall. If you're stiffer, the support should be lower and placed farther from the wall; if you're more flexible, use a higher support that is closer to the wall. Your distance from the wall also depends on your height: if you're shorter move closer to the wall, if taller move farther from the wall. Experiment with the position of your support until you find the placement that works for you.

Start with your support about 5 to 6 inches away from the wall. Sit sideways on right end of the support, with your right side against the wall (left-handers can substitute "left" for "right" in these instructions). 

Exhale and, with one smooth movement, swing your legs up onto the wall and your shoulders and head lightly down onto the floor. The first few times you do this, you may ignominiously slide off the support and plop down with your buttocks on the floor. Don't get discouraged. Try lowering the support and/or moving it slightly further off the wall until you gain some facility with this movement, then move back closer to the wall.






Your sitting bones don't need to be right against the wall, but they should be "dripping" down into the space between the support and the wall. Check that the front of your torso gently arches from the
pubis to the top of the shoulders. If the front of your torso seems flat, then you've probably slipped a bit off the support. Bend your knees, press your feet into the wall and lift your pelvis off the support a few inches, tuck the support a little higher up under your pelvis, then lower your pelvis onto the support again.



Lift and release the base of your skull away from the back of your neck and soften your throat. Don't push your chin against your sternum; instead let your sternum lift toward the chin. Take a small roll (made from a towel for example) under your neck if the cervical spine feels flat. Open your shoulder blades away from the spine and release your hands and arms out to your sides, palms up.
Keep your legs relatively firm, just enough to hold them vertically in place. Release the heads of the thigh bones and the weight of your belly deeply into your torso, toward the back of the pelvis.

Soften your eyes and turn them down to look into your heart.

Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Be sure not to twist off the support when coming out. Instead, slide off the support onto the floor before turning to the side. You can also bend your knees and push your feet against the wall to lift your pelvis off the support. Then slide the support to one side, lower your pelvis to the floor, and turn to the side. Stay on your side for a few breaths, and come up to sitting with an exhalation.



Anatomical Focus

Legs
Abdomen
Chest
Neck

Therapeutic Applications

Gheranda heaps praise on this pose (though that he's probably talking about a version more akin Headstand) and states that Viparita Karani "destroys" old age and death. "You will become an Adept in all the worlds and will not perish even at world dissolution (pralaya)" (Gheranda Samhita 3.36).
Svatmarama (who's probably got something more like shoulderstand in mind) claims that after six months of practice, "grey hairs and wrinkles become inconspicuous" (Hatha Yoga Pradipika 3.82). We should take these traditional benefits with a pinch of salt. Modern teachers do, however, believe that Viparita Karani is good for Most everything that ails you, including:

Anxiety
Arthritis
Digestive problems
Headache
High and low blood pressure
Insomnia
Migraine
Mild depression
Respiratory ailments
Urinary disorders
Varicose veins
Menstrual cramps
Premenstrual syndrome
Menopause




Modifications and Props

In addition to a bolster or blanket for support, two props are very popular for Viparita Karani--a strap and a sand bag. Once in the pose you can snug the strap around your thighs, just above the knees. The strap will help hold your legs in place, allowing you to further relax the legs and soften the groins.
The sand bag is a little harder to get in place. Once in the pose, bend your knees and slide your feet down the wall, but keep your ankles flexed, soles parallel to the ceiling. As best you can, lay the bag across your soles (or heels) and then re-straighten the knees, pushing the bag actively toward the ceiling. This weight on the legs helps release tension in the lower back.

Variations

If you have enough wall space, you can slide your legs apart into a wide "V" to stretch your inner thighs and groins. You also can bend your knees, touch the soles of your feet together, and slide the outer edges of your feet down the wall, bringing your heels toward the pelvis. Then you can push your hands against the top inner thighs to stretch the groins. Remember, however, never push on your knees to open the groins.

Preparatory Asanas

Viparita Karani is usually considered to be a restorative pose,
sequenced near the end of either a restorative or active practice.
But Viparita Karani can also be practiced as a pose in itself.
Excellent preparations include:
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Supta Baddha Konasana
Uttanasana
Virasana
Subsequent Asanas
Viparita Karani is usually sequenced near the end of a practice just prior to Savasana or sitting pranayama.

Beginners Tip

Use your breath to ground the heads of the thighs bones into the wall, which helps release your groins, belly, and spine. In the pose imagine that each inhalation is descending through your torso and
pressing the heads of your thigh bones closer to the wall. Then with each exhale, pin your thighs to the wall and let your torso spill over the bolster away from the wall and onto the floor.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Acupressure Points on your Feet for Headaches and Migraines

by Holly Tse, CMP at www.chinesefootreflexology.comIf you get headaches or migraines, here are four acupressure and Chinese Reflexology points that can help you feel better right away.  Learn how to rub your feet for fast pain relief and for long-term improvement of your symptoms. Let’s face it, headaches suck! While I often write eloquently (or so I think!), there’s no other way to describe the stabbing pain that shoots up through your eye, the vise-like grip that radiates from your head to your shoulders or the incessant throbbing that leaves you feeling cranky, crabby and foggy.



If it sounds like I've experienced some killer headaches, your assumption is 100% correct. I've had stabbing migraines, headaches that follow you to sleep and greet you on waking, dull achy head pain, and ocular migraines too.  Fortunately, I learned how to bring my body into balance so that I now can’t even remember when I last had a headache. Here are some good books on Reflexology
Complete Reflexology …

Home Remedies For Warts

Warts are small benign growths on the skin, caused by a variety of related, slow-acting viruses HPV (human papilloma virus). There are at least sixty known types of HPV. Warts may appear singly or in clusters. We will talk about three types of warts: Common warts, Plantar warts, and genital warts.
Common warts can be found anywhere on the body, but are most common on the hands, fingers elbows, forearms, knees, face, and the skin around the nails. Most often, they occur on skin that is expose to constant friction, trauma, or abrasion.

They can also occur on the larynx (the voice box) and cause hoarseness.


Common warts may be flat or raised, dry or moist, and have a rough and pitted surface that is either the same color as or slightly darker than the surrounding skin. They can be as small as a pinhead or as large as small bean. Highly contagious, the virus that causes common warts is acquired through breaks in the skin.
Common warts can spread if they picked, trimmed, bitten or touch…

Qigong for Strengthening the Kidneys

In Chinese Medicine, as in reality, there is no way to separate the mind and the body.

The most pronounced emotion related to Kidney Deficiency is fear. This type of imbalance would be marked with unfounded fear and anxiety during everyday life rather than fear relating to true danger. 

Unchecked, it can manifest as infertility, sexual dysfunction, menopause, prostate problems, impaired immunity, chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, heart irregularities and anxiety.


Adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and produce adrenaline that participates in the body’s fight/flight/freeze response and cortisol that stimulates stress. Long-term adrenaline and cortisol over production, partly brought on by chronic fear, can lead to adrenal burnout and chronic fatigue.



The kidney meridian starts at the underside center of the foot. It moves to the inside of the foot and circles the ankle. Then it moves up the inside of each leg, through the groin, and up the center of the torso about an inch fr…