Put Your Feet Up

If your busy mind has been on the office treadmill all day, you can expect to feel tired when you get home. Problem-solving, creative thinking, and just generally trying to keep up with the pile of work on your desk can leave you physically and mentally drained, even though you’ve been sitting down all day.

When we arrive home after such a hectic day, we often turn to food for comfort. We are too tired to exercise, and the mind is too dull to concentrate on anything more than the mind-numbing flicker of the television.

If this scenario is all-too-familiar, try turning things upside down for a change: Viparita Karani, or Legs Up the Wall Pose, is a simple and effective way to get inverted, rest weary legs, restore hips and back, and calm the incessant chatter of the mind.

To come into the pose:

1. Choose a quiet place with a clear wall where you’re unlikely to be disturbed for at least 5 minutes. (The bathroom is a good place.)

2. Sit sideways on the floor with one hip touching the wall. Bend your knees and shift your weight to your forearms as you roll onto your back.

3. Straighten your legs up the wall and shimmy the hips until the buttocks touch the wall. The legs should be passive. If you have tight hamstrings, allow the buttocks to rest away from the wall. The floor should support your low back and pelvis.

4. Relax the shoulders and arms and let the legs sink into the pelvis. To increase the mind-calming quality of this pose, rest with the arms overhead.

5. Stay in the pose for 5 to 15 minutes. Your feet may become cool or start to tingle slightly. If this gets uncomfortable, bend your knees and roll to one side to release the pose.

The many benefits of this pose include increased blood circulation to the pelvic region and upper body, soothing the digestive system. Viparita Karani also gives a boost to the immune system by stimulating the major endocrine glands, and it’s a wonderful aid to sleep.


Image credit: kellinahandbasket via Flickr (CC)

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