Viparita Karani - Legs Up The Wall
The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) governs the body’s repair systems. You can think of it as the opposite of the well-known “fight or flight” or sympathetic nervous system (SNS). When a person is functioning optimally these two systems work together to help our bodies rise to the occasion, whether that is giving a presentation, running from a predator, or simply getting out of bed in the morning. The SNS does the stimulating and the PNS does the repair work once we feel safe again. Unfortunately, modern life is full of events that keep us locked in a state of SNS activation, like traffic or mental stress. The PNS is under-stimulated and we are sick and tired as a result. Luckily, we can use our yoga practice to shut down the SNS and tell the PNS it’s time to get to work doing all the good stuff we need it to do, digesting our food, clearing out waste products from cells, and repairing damage. While many yoga practices stimulate the PNS, the most effective and easiest is Viparita Karani, called Legs Up The Wall in English.
What To Do
- Place a stack of folded blankets or a bolster at the base of a wall.
- Lay down so that your hips are on the blankets and your legs rest on the wall.
- Breathe normally and focus on the sensations in the body.
- Stay for 10-20 minutes.
- To come out, roll to one side and lay for 3-5 minutes before standing.
- Resting the legs on a chair or couch is equally as beneficial.
- Calming (stimulates the parasympathetic system)
- Balances the endocrine system
- Can relieve low back pain
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps prevent varicose veins
- Stimulates lymphatic flow to aid in immune responses and cell repair