This legs on the wall exercise also known as Viparita Karani, is a restorative yoga pose that offers several benefits and has been one of my favorite exercises for the last few years. It may look funny but it is so worth it. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety, improve circulation, relieve tired leg muscles, and promote relaxation. This yoga pose also allows for gentle stretching of the hamstrings and can help to alleviate mild back pain. The key word here is gentle. My hamstrings are uber tight and I have to approach any hamstring exercise carefully so I don’t hurt myself. Its original purpose (and still one of its main purposes today) is reversing the body’s energy flow. Because of gravity, our energy and blood flow typically have a downward trajectory, but when we lie on the floor and let our legs rest against a wall, we’re able to reverse that energy.  I try to do this exercise two times a day, once in the Am and once before bed.

To me the hardest part of this exercise is finding the right place to do it. Back in the States, we had a room I called my “meditation room”. Oh man, how I miss this room for many reasons. The room was carpeted and had great corner walls so not only was it padded and cozy it also had a great place to do one leg at a time. As the room suggests, it was used for my meditation practice, so it always smelled of burning incense. It was also my office where I did most of my coaching. Oh gosh, I really miss that room :-(

Anywho back to the topic, here is a great YouTube video on more benefits of doing Legs on the Wall.

I do two variations of legs on the wall. One is with both legs up. I put a yoga mat folded up underneath me, and also a small blanket under my head. When I get on the floor I scoot my booty as close to the wall as I can. It looks odd but it is the easiest way for me to challenge myself to get close. As I mentioned I have tight hamstrings so I can not get to the wall but I am getting closer every day. Sometimes I rest my hands on top of my hamstrings and apply VERY light pressure to add some resistance but other times I just lay with my arms to the side and chill into the pose.

Another position I like to do is one leg at a time like the picture below.

This position give me not only a hamstring stretch but also a little groin stretch. I am on the edge of a corner wall. My right leg is on the floor stretched out. To do your right leg this way you have to have another corner at another angle of course.

The key to any yoga position is to not force yourself into a pose. You do not want this to hurt. I like to push myself to what I call “my edge”. It is a little more than comfortable but not to the ouch level. Typically doing this for 5-20 minutes a day is the best but you do you. The important thing is you want to be consistent with it, so start slow.

Coming out of this position is just as important as getting into it. Slowly lower your leg(s) and push back. Give yourself some time in Shavasana ( laying flat on the ground, legs apart and arms to your side with your palms up ) Take 3-5 minutes in this pose, and when you’re done slowly roll to your side and push yourself up. Do not just jump up. Lastly, congratulate yourself for spending time improving your health.