Whether you’re working from home at the kitchen table, on the couch, at a desk, or in your
bedroom, many of us are moving our bodies less every day than ever before. While it can be hard
to find the motivation to get a full workout in at home, we must make sure we’re still stimulating
blood flow and proper circulation.
Not just that, but with the anxiety-inducing inundation of news we’re constantly processing, it is
equally as valuable to find ways to clear your mind. Viparita karani, or “Legs up the wall” is an
easy, restorative posture that offers both of these benefits. The best part? Gravity does most of
the work for you!
While “legs up the wall” is technically a yoga pose, there is no reason to be intimidated by
it—this simple posture is suitable (and supremely beneficial) for anyone to incorporate into their
How to get into the pose:
Plan to be in this posture for 5 to 15 minutes, whatever you’re comfortable with. Set a timer
before you start, so that you won’t be distracted by checking the clock.
Make sure you have a comfortable, but firm, surface to rest your back on. A yoga mat on the
floor is great, but a towel or a blanket will work just as well. Lie on your back, parallel to the
wall at first, and gently swing your legs up onto the wall. As you do this, you should be able to
shift your torso, until you become perpendicular to the wall. The goal is to create a 90 degree
angle, or an L-shape, with your body.
Pro-tip: You want your butt and hips to be as close to the wall as possible, but this pose is not
intended to be an intense stretch. If you feel any pain, scooch your hips a little further away from
the wall. There is no “doing it right,” any variation of this pose that is comfortable for your body
will be beneficial.
Remember to breathe:
Once you’re in position, close your eyes and relax. Take deep breaths. Count slowly, in your
mind, from 1 to 5 as you inhale, hold the breath in for a second, and then count from 1 to 5 as
you gradually exhale. Counting your breaths is totally optional, but it is a common meditation
technique that works to calm the mind. If you’re focusing on your breath, you’re not thinking
about stressors from your day.
Reap all those juicy benefits:
There are countless benefits of taking some time to unwind the mind, but the great thing about
legs up the wall is everything it does for your body at the same time. Prolonged sitting can lead
to swelling, poor circulation, deep vein thrombosis, and varicose veins—among other things.
Legs up the wall drains any fluids that are pooling in your legs, while also increasing circulation
to your core.
Been feeling stiff in your neck and shoulders lately? Extended periods of sitting cause that pain
too, in addition to the fact that many of us carry our stress in this part of the body. Because legs
up the wall requires you to lie flat on your back with both shoulders on the ground, it aligns your
spine by opening up the upper body, and counteracts all that hunching we do during the day.