Well, not literally, LOL!
We have all felt like climbing the walls with frustration, anger and anxiety in recent months and even years. This global pandemic is taking its toll on mental wellbeing as well. But did you know that ‘climbing the walls’ can actually benefit you?
Not literally of course, but there is a yoga pose, which is basically your legs up a wall, which can have tremendous health and wellbeing benefits to you. And, unlike some yoga poses, it is extremely easy to do!
You don’t have to be a yoga guru or even particularly flexible to reap the benefits of this simple pose. Called the viparita karani, or the ‘legs-up-the-wall’ pose, it is exactly as it sounds: Your torso and head lie flat on the ground while your legs are inverted up a wall.
Legs-up-the-wall pose is one of several yoga poses known as inversion poses where the upper body is inverted from its normal, upright position. With your legs above the rest of your body, gravity gets to work on them in a way it simply can’t for most of the day. This pose can work even for people who aren’t able to do other inversion poses such as headstands, shoulderstands or the downward-facing dog pose.
The advantage of legs up the wall compared to a headstand or shoulder stand is that you’re able to achieve the benefits of inversion without stressing or straining your neck and head.
Who can do this pose?
It is so easy anyone who can lie down can do it! Just a caution: as it does allow built up water retention to return to the upper body, if you have serious health concerns it is best to check with your doctor. If you have glaucoma, or any condition that causes excessive fluid retention, like Congestive heart failure,
Kidney failure, or Liver failure or cirrhosis, or uncontrolled high blood pressure, you should not do this pose.
What can this easy pose do for you?
-It improves circulation
The main benefit of viparita karani is that it puts back into circulation the bodily fluids stored in your legs. It allows the return of blood flow and reduction of lower-leg swelling.
A common cause of leg swelling is venous insufficiency… when your leg veins don’t effectively circulate blood from your legs back up toward your heart. Weak circulation is associated with blood pooling and retention of blood in your legs, which can raise your chances of blood clots and, at the very least, some swelling and discomfort.
Even if you don’t have chronic venous insufficiency, standing or sitting all day may limit your body’s ability to easily circulate blood back up your body. But legs up the wall can help.
-It can help you de-stress
Yoga can, in general, have a positive impact on your body’s stress response systems, and restorative yoga poses like legs up the wall are intended to guide your body into a state of relaxation. You will find holding the pose is very calming.
-It could have additional benefits
Some people claim that it alleviates other conditions such as headaches and high blood pressure. There is no scientific evidence of this, but if it does make you feel better, it is all good.
How often can you do legs up the wall?
The pose is safe to do as often as once or twice a day, whether as part of your regular yoga practice or as a stand-alone pose.
How to do it?
It’s relatively easy to do. You can also learn from online yoga videos.
-Place a blanket or yoga mat on the floor, next to the wall, and use a thin pillow for your head if needed, especially if you are prone to vertigo or dizziness.
-Lie down on the blanket or mat with your buttocks scooted up toward the wall. Your tailbone should remain on the floor, with your buttocks a few inches out from the wall.
-Feel the stretch: The backs of your legs should rest against the wall, with your knees relaxed and your feet parallel to the floor below. You should feel a light stretch in your legs, but it should not be painful.
-Take it easy: Relax and breathe deeply as you hold the pose.
Hold it for a similar length as other yoga poses, anywhere up to two to three minutes.
Come out of the pose slowly: When you’re done, move carefully into a seated position and sit quietly for at least 30 seconds. You don’t want to rapidly come out of out of an inversion pose.
There you go.. Now you have a valid excuse to go lie down and put your legs up the wall… It is all for your health and wellbeing!