Confession time. I’m not much of a yogi. Don’t get me wrong—I’ve participated in a few yoga classes and felt great afterwards. I just haven’t made it a priority in my life. I’m more inclined to head outside for a walk or throw some punches at our kickboxing bag. However, there is one yoga pose I do every night before going to bed: Viparia Karani (or Legs-Up-the-Wall pose to someone like myself.) 😉
I learned this particular pose many moons ago in a beginner class, and I come back to it time and again on my own. When I’m feeling on edge or tense, legs up the wall. When I’m feeling headachy or a little bit off, legs up the wall. When my lower back or hips feel out of whack, legs up the wall. Turns out, there’s a reason I’m drawn to this pose when these feelings creep in.
According to Yoga Journal, there is a commonly held belief among many present-day teachers that Legs-Up-the-Wall pose can cure whatever ails you. I like the sounds of that! It’s touted as a beneficial approach to a laundry list of conditions, from insomnia, mild depression, digestive issues, and high blood pressure to menstrual cramps and menopause. Yoga Journal outlines step-by-step written instructions that will help start curing your woes pretty quickly.
If you’re a visual learner like me, you may want to check out this video to learn how to properly move through the steps of the pose. My brother—a yogi who opened the one and only yoga studio in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin—assures me that the most important thing is to get into the pose and hold it despite whatever clumsy path you take in getting there. So I go with that.
I chose the video above because I like the casual and accessible demeanor of the instructor. Yoga can be a bit intimidating to a novice. Unusual limb contortions, freestanding headstands (with no support to stop your legs from flopping over), or impossible balancing acts on one appendage with the others twisted up in a pretzel all look as daunting as they do impressive. Wowza!
Legs-Up-the-Wall looks much simpler. However, if your only exposure to yoga is to these complex poses, you may find the whole thing unattainable and therefore never discover the simple, rejuvenating poses such as Legs-Up-the-Wall. When I’m curious about some beneficial practice or another, I seek out the elements that fit in with my current lifestyle, knowing I can dig a little deeper later on if I choose. I take my self-health education very seriously, and you should too.
I do the Legs-Up-the-Wall pose every night because it calms me. When I brought this back into my bedtime routine a few months ago, I remembered the beauty I found in its simplicity. Holding the pose for 15 minutes each night—eyes closed, breathing focused— puts me in a relaxed state and readies me for sleep. When I skip it, it takes me longer to doze off. It’s nice to know it’s also working its magic on any other kinds of distress my body and mind might be dealing with.
Give Legs-Up-the-Wall a try for a few nights and see what happens. It might just become the one pose you do each night as well.
Image from iStock/www.boudoirbyya.com.