image of yoga pose and benefits of legs up the wall

What’s not to praise?

Legs up the wall is a favourite with many people because it’s a pose that’s guaranteed to sort you out. With a minimum investment of energy, the pose will return you maximum benefits. It is restorative, regenerative and reviving.

Even non-yogis seem to find their way to this pose. I’ve seen bushwalkers take a break, lie down and put their legs up a tree. Or workshoppers lie down in the tea breaks and, where there’s space, put their legs up.

I first came across the four variations of the pose that I call the Viparita Karani (legs up the wall) cycle in The Woman’s Book of Yoga and Health by Linda Sparrowe and Patricia Walden.

There are lots of health advantages to the pose. If your lower back is a little sore, after 5 or 10 minutes in this inversion, it will have eased. If your kidneys are somewhat achey, the pose will soothe them. If you have just done an energetic practice and your energy is slightly wiry, legs up the wall will get you back on an even keel. The pose is even recommended to ultra athletes to rest their legs after a session of strenuous exertion.

Any time your energy is badly depleted, a long timing in the pose will renew you.

Here’s Daniel in recovery mode, after hours of tackling weeds in the back of our property (the dreaded lantana):

photo of man lying down in yoga pose with Legs straight up on wall

Legs straight up

photo of man lying down in yoga pose with Legs in the splits on wall

Legs in upavistha konasana

photo of man lying down in yoga pose with legs folded onto bolster near the wall

Legs in baddha konasana

A yoga program to recharge your batteries

I know from experience that yoga teachers, too, need to devote time to restorative practice. It’s often the case that we teach too much and don’t practice enough. Some of us are better at looking after others than ourselves. The following practice has been a life saver, getting me back on track for taking care of myself.

This program is particularly good for dealing with fatigue.

Supta Baddha Konasana (reclining bound angel pose), 5 minutes

Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend), 1-2 minutes

Janu Sirsasana (head to knee pose), 1-2 minutes, each side

Bharadavajasana (seated twist), 30-60 seconds each side

Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward-facing dog pose), 1-2 minutes

Uttansasana, (standing forward bend), supported, head on seat of chair, 1-2 minutes

Preparation or full Sirsansana (headstand)

Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) supported on chair, 5 minutes

Half Halasana (plough pose), on chair, 3-5 minutes

Setu Bandhasana (supported bridge pose), 5 minutes

Viparita Karani Cycle (legs up the wall) – Legs straight up, legs in splits, legs in baddha konasana and legs crossed on bolster, each variation 3-5 minutes

Savasana (relaxation), 10 minutes

Bonus–Click on this link for how you might take care of yourself in any yoga class you attend using pose of a child.