Similar to Legs-Up-the-Wall, Waterfall Pose is a restorative inversion—i.e. you receive nearly all of the same benefits as an active inversion, such as Headstand or Shoulder Stand, without all of the muscular effort.
What I like about this supported inversion is that you can easily incorporate it into the end of your practice without having to move your mat to the wall. You just need a block and a few moments to raise your legs above your heart, and voilà—you’re in an inversion.
Side note: I often do this pose when the class is working on backbends, or whenever I’m in a Supported Bridge Pose and I can simply lift my legs up into the air. It’s a great way to give back to your hardworking legs after a strong standing practice, as well as calm the nervous system for Savasana.
Waterfall Pose Step-By-Step
Begin lying on your back with your feet flat on the mat and knees straight up toward the ceiling in preparation for Bridge Pose.
Press down firmly into your feet, lift your hips up, and slide a block underneath your sacrum (the hard, bony triangle of fused vertebrae at the bottom of your spine)—fully supporting your pelvis.
Tip: Using the block at its lowest height is perfectly acceptable, or you can turn the block so it's standing on its longer narrow side. However, I wouldn’t turn the block to its highest height. Ideally, two blocks at their lowest height is preferred, but not necessary to receive the benefits of the pose.
With the back of your head, shoulders, arms, and hands on the floor, palms face up, bring one knee at a time toward your chest and lengthen both legs straight up. If hamstrings are tight, or if this places any strain on your low back, feel free to keep the knees bent as necessary.
Once the legs are up, you’ll immediately feel the blood rush from your feet and legs, reversing the effects of gravity on the legs, relieving tired leg muscles, and allowing your heart rate to slow down.
Don’t be alarmed if you begin to feel a light numbing or tingling sensation in your legs. Just place your feet back down on the earth and the blood will immediately rush back into the legs and feet, giving you complete relief.
To release the pose, bend both knees and place both feet back down on the floor. Press firmly down into your feet to lift the hips up and slide the block out from underneath your sacrum. Take a few breaths lying flat with the knees still bent before rolling to one side to get up.
So, how did you like Waterfall Pose? Share your experience with me in the comments!
Image Credit: Nir Livni Photography