I love Legs Up the Wall. This posture is one of the most nourishing, grounding and calming poses I can think of, and I have turned to it many times in my own life when I was feeling overwhelmed, tired, or stressed.
What is it?
Basically, Legs Up the Wall posture is exactly as it sounds! You lie on your back with your sit-bones as close to the wall as is comfortable for you. From there, you extend your legs up the wall, so that the backs of your legs are resting fully against it.
In more therapeutic variations of this posture, you may have blocks under your hips to elevate them, creating a slight inversion in your lower belly, and a strap securing your legs together so that you can fully relax and release into the pose, without having to exert effort to hold your legs up.
For the most benefit, I generally like to recommend practicing this pose for at least 10 to 15 minutes, but even just hanging out for a minute or two will suffice. Here are five health benefits of Legs Up the Wall posture.
1. It reduces edema in the legs and feet.
By reversing the effects of gravity on your legs and feet, you can really help to move any stuck or stagnant fluids that may build up there if you have low blood pressure, or spend a lot of time on your feet during your day. In this posture, you will be using gravity to your advantage.
2. It relieves tired leg muscles.
Hanging out with your legs up the wall is one of the best ways to help drain tension from the legs, feet, and even the hips if you have them elevated on blocks.
If you have a strap around your legs, and have given yourself an extended period of time to allow your body to fully relax into the posture, you will find that tired, sore legs will feel a whole lot better once you come out of your posture.
3. It gives you all the benefits of inversion, without the effort.
You most likely know how good inversions are for you at this point—they can help to reverse the effects of gravity on the whole system, help regulate blood pressure, help move stuck fluids, and even help to improve your digestion.
However, sometimes the energetic expressions of inversions like Handstand are too much. We all have times in our lives when we need something that is just fully nourishing, and that is where Legs Up the Wall comes in.
You will still be getting many of the benefits of practicing an active inversion, while also fully resting and surrendering.
4. It is super calming for the nervous system.
This posture is really intended to be a deeply relaxing pose. When you combine a longer hold of Legs Up the Wall with slow, rhythmic breathing, you will be tapping into your "rest and digest" nervous response.
In this state, your body will be actively digesting anything you have eaten, as well as working to heal and repair your body. When you do poses like Legs Up the Wall consistently for a period of time, you may notice that your body feels healthier overall, and that you are better able to find a calm state of mind.
5. It helps quiet the mind.
As mentioned in the point above, this posture may help you cultivate a quiet mind if you practice it for a period of time. By fully releasing and relaxing your body and by focusing on deep breathing, you will evoke a meditative state.
Having the body feel safe and supported is one of the tools that we as yogis use to help reach this peaceful state. As you breathe, surrender and let go, you may find yourself slipping into bliss!
Do you practice Legs Up the Wall? What is your favorite variation of this pose? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
Image credit: Mala Collective