How to Do Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose in Yoga (Guide to Viparita Karani)

Legs Up the Wall Pose is a restorative yoga practice that gently inverts the body, creating a shift in both your blood flow and entire energy system. With regular practice of this simple yoga posture, you can improve both physical and mental health in no time.

“When your nervous system is overwhelmed by anxiety or stress, Legs Up the Wall Pose is a quick and effective way to shift your energy and calm your mind,” says Yoga Answered contributor Isabella Koepf. “This restorative, gentle inversion grounds the body and allows your mind a peaceful moment to rejuvenate.”

Legs Up the Wall Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Viparita karani
Pose Type: Restorative Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Beginner pose
Targets: Legs, hips, lower back, and mind
Benefits: Improves blood circulation, calms the mind, reduces stress and anxiety, relieves headaches, increases energy, alleviates lower back pain, improves insomnia, reduces swelling and edema in the lower body, and activates the parasympathetic nervous system
Preparatory Poses: Standing Forward Fold Pose, Reclined Butterfly Pose, Bridge Pose, Child’s Pose

How to Do Legs Up the Wall Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Begin by finding an empty wall space and place a folded blanket or bolster horizontally against the wall.
  2. Sit on the side of your blanket or cushion so that your right side is touching the wall.
  3. Then place your left forearm on the ground and swing your legs up against the wall as you rest your upper body down on the floor behind your blankets or bolster. Alternatively, you can do this pose without a bolster or blanket and simply rest your entire back flat on the ground.
  4. In this position, your upper body should be resting on the ground with your hips fully supported by the bolster or blanket as your legs rest against the wall.
  5. Try to bring your legs in line with your hips against the wall and allow your legs to relax and release any effort completely.
  6. Rest your arms by your sides with your palms facing up towards the ceiling, and close your eyes to relax into this restorative posture.
  7. To exit the pose, slowly bend your knees towards your chest and scoot your buttocks slightly away from the wall.
  8. Then gently turn to one side and push yourself up to a seated position.

Beginner’s Tip

To increase the calming mental benefits of this yoga pose even more, try placing an eye pillow over your eyes and use this pose as an opportunity to practice meditation and complete relaxation. Focus on your breath to guide you deeper into this pose, and allow yourself to rest during this practice entirely.

If you don’t have a wall to use for this yoga pose, you can also place your legs on a chair or even do this pose in the middle of the room (as seen in the video above). But without something to rest your legs on, this pose will become more active and not as restorative.

If your legs feel like they are not staying together, try using a strap around your calves or thighs to secure them together in line with your hips.

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