In these times when it seems that our lives continue becoming busier and busier, relaxing at the end of the day is much needed. Here is a simple and easy suggestion that might help you let go of the day and release stress.
This pose can be practiced upon arriving home or in preparation for going to sleep. Place a folded blanket on the floor against a wall. Take your shoes and socks off and wear comfortable clothing.
Legs up the wall – Viparita Karani
- Start sitting on the folded blanket with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor and the wall to one of your sides (either left or right) so that the outer side of your hip joint is close to the wall.
- Using your hands for support, recline on your back while lifting the legs up and turn so that the back of your thighs are resting on the wall.
- Make sure that your lower back and the back of your pelvis (sacrum) are in contact with the floor. Allow your arms to rest on the floor beside you with your hands separated one foot away from your pelvis. This is the pose, legs up the wall – Viparita Karani. (See the picture above).
- Now, we’ll use our breath to relax and to bring awareness to the pose. Without making any changes, notice the subtle movements of your breath. Notice the sensations that accompany each movement of the breath. Do this for several rounds of breath.
- Gradually, focus your attention on the exhalation. For several rounds of breath, each time you exhale let the thoughts in your mind drift away.
- Now, focus on the inhalation. Deepen your inhalation without forcing while observing closely the sensations in your body.
- Notice if there are any specific sensations in your body that require your attention as your continue breathing comfortably.
- Close your eyes and let go of any control over your breath. Just relax.
- Stay in this pose for several minutes.
- When you feel ready to come out of the pose, mindfully bend your knees toward your chest.
- Roll to one side and slowly come into a comfortable sitting position.
- Take a deep breath, notice any differences in how you feel now as compared with how you felt before doing this practice and enjoy the rest of your day.
An alternative option
If ,for any reason, the pose does not seem comfortable, you can do this practice resting on the floor with your knees bent and your legs supported by a chair as indicated in the image below.
Either pose can also be an excellent way to relax your legs and lower back after walking or after spending a long time standing up or sitting.
Taking time at the end of the day to relax, gives us the opportuny to connect with our inner silence, so that our minds and bodies can release tension and get a well deserved break. Many people find that doing this exercise before going to sleep help them sleep more soundly.
Have a wonderful practice!