Restorative yoga can be a wonderful form of self-care. It can be a perfect introduction to yoga for a beginner and very calming for the seasoned yogi. In our busy lives, we don’t often invite ourselves to fully let go and relax. Deep relaxation is like a balm to the nervous system. It can switch off the stress-induced fight-or-flight response (sympathetic nervous system) and turn on the relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system), inviting more ease and spaciousness into our lives.
The following practice invites you to SLOW DOWN and settle into legs up the wall pose, luxuriating in the stillness that comes with letting go.
Preparation: Grab your yoga mat and eye pillow if you have them, as well as a blanket. You might want to light a candle or play soft music.
Daily Practice: Legs Up the Wall
- Set up your yoga mat perpendicular to a wall. Lay a folded blanket at the end of the mat, closest to the wall—this will be for lower back support. Have the optional eye pillow near the mat where you can reach it.
- To get into the pose, sit at the end of your yoga mat with one hip up against the wall. Support yourself with your hands as you slide your legs up the wall and lower your back onto the mat.
- Get comfortable, adjusting the blanket under your lower back. Rest your arms at your sides with your palms facing up to help open up the chest and the heart center. Place the eye pillow over your eyes if you’d like.
- Begin to breathe long and deep down into your abdomen, engaging the diaphragm. Let your eyes and jaw soften. Allow your breath to carry you into relaxation as you imagine inhaling softness and exhaling any stress or tension.
- Practice legs up the wall for 5-10 minutes. Come out of the pose by gently bending your knees into your chest and breathing here for a moment before rolling onto your side.
We'd love to hear from you: How did you feel after completing this practice? Did you notice a ripple effect out into the rest of your day?
"Viparita Karani" photo by kellinahandbasket via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)