LEGS UP THE WALL POSE

15 Dec

LEGS UP THE WALL POSE

Intention

Is to create a gentle mild supported inversion that restores and rebalances the body and the mind which is known as Viparita Karani Mudra.

Benefits

  • In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika written by Swami Svatmarama Viparita Karani is noted to be a very important Mudra
  • Increases circulation of blood and lymph to the upper body
  • Believed to balance the endocrine system
  • Wonderful restorative pose
  • Believed to rebalance the entire body
  • Relieves swollen feet and legs
  • Benefits of Salamba Sarvangasana without the effort
  • Believed to increase appetite and benefit digestion
  • Believed to relieve constipation, haemorrhoids, and prolapse due to inverted position
  • Believed to stimulate under active thyroid glands
  • Encourages relaxation of the physical body after athletic activity
  • Calms the mind
  • Relaxes the breath and encourages deep breathing
  • Relieves mild lower back pain
  • Relieves tiredness in the back of the body and legs
  • Gentle hamstring stretch for people with tight hamstrings

Contraindications

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Glaucoma or detached retina
  • Extremely tight hamstrings will pull the pelvis into PPT posterior pelvic tilt and aggravate lower back and lumbar spine injuries
  • Hiatus hernias due to acid reflux
  • Menstruation
  • Pregnancy after first trimester

Teaching technique

  1. Lay supine on the mat with the body aligned symmetrically, the legs together and the arms by the sides
  2. Bend the knees and place the soles of the feet on the floor near the buttocks with the torso and neck relaxed
  3. Lift the hips upward and allow the extended legs to pivot in the hips and the feet to move in the direction of the head
  4. Bend the elbows which are resting on the floor, draw the scapulas towards the spine to open the chest and place the palms of the hands onto either the sacrum or the hips to support the body
  5. Activate Mulabandha to support and stabilize the connection of the pelvis to the legs and the lumbar spine then activate the obliques, transverse and rectus abdominals to create a muscular girdle that wraps around the inner core created by Mulabandha to create a strong foundation for legs which are extended pushing through the inner ankles with the feet dorsi flexed at an angle to the torso over the face
  6. With the forearms and hands supporting the leverage and weight of the extended legs and pelvis the torso is stabilized so activating Uddiyanabandha to create an inner core and wrapping the external muscles of the ribcage around the inner core becomes an option that can be used but is not required
  7. Avoid lifting the hips too high and creating tension and stress in the cervical spine and neck and severely reducing the cervical curve of the neck
  8. Hold Viparita Karani Mudra as long as it is relatively comfortable using gentle abdominal vertical breathing to promote the PNS parasympathetic nervous system and relaxation
  9. Release Viparita Karani Mudra by removing the hands from the pelvis, lower the extended the straight legs over the face and gently under control lower the torso one vertebrae at a time onto the floor until the spine rests on the floor, then slowly under control lower the extended straight legs onto so that the body returns to its original supine position

Modifications

  • Viparita Kirani Mudra can be replaced with a simple asana where the buttocks are placed against the wall and the legs extended up the wall for support and alignment
  • Blankets can be folded and placed under the pelvis
  • A bolster can be placed under the buttocks to lift the pelvis away from the floor
  • A sand bag can be placed on the soles of the feet of the vertically extended legs to stabilize the sacrum and the sacroiliac joint
  • The arms can be extended back over the head to stretch and open the shoulders resting with the back of the hands on the floor
  • Strap the ankles and knees together to create symmetry in the legs
  • Separate the extended legs as far apart as possible into a leg splits supported by the wall
  • If the leg splits against the wall are too extreme or uncomfortable bend the knees slightly and draw the heels of the feet resting on the wall as far apart as possible
  • Bend the knees and draw the heels down the wall towards the buttocks knees wide apart into a wall supported Baddha Konasana where the hands can be used to gently push the knees back towards the wall to increase the stretch

Common misalignments

  • In Viparita Karani Mudra the head is allowed to move to one side out of its midline alignment of pubic bone, navel, sternum and chin
  • The shoulders are not symmetrical or used evenly so the torso tilts to the side
  • The scapulas are released away from the spine allowing the chest to collapse and torso to soften
  • The forearms do not support the torso evenly causing the torso to tilt to one side
  • The pelvis is allowed to twist so that the extended legs are not symmetrical
  • The legs are allowed to separate so the inner knees and ankles are not together
  • The feet are relaxed and no longer dorsi-flexed
  • In the simple wall supported version of Viparita Karani the midline of the torso and head are not at right angles to the wall
  • The head is allowed to move to the side losing its postural alignment with the midline of the torso
  • One side of the torso presents as longer than the other and the spine is curved laterally
  • The pelvis is twisted on the floor so that one leg presents as being longer than the other
  • The legs are not vertically aligned up the wall
  • The inner ankle bones to not align with each other
  • The feet are not dorsi-flexed

Counter pose

Savasana commonly known as the corpse yoga pose which creates a totally relaxed asana which combined with gentle abdominal vertical breathing stimulates the PNS parasympathetic nervous system promoting a deep restful relaxation.

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