Looking to get a better night sleep? Yoga may just have the solution for you. A study from the University of Harvard conducted on insomnia revealed something truly amazing. People that practiced yoga consistently for only two months experienced deeper and longer sleep than people who did not do yoga.
If your life is to busy for yoga, there is good news for you! The Legs Up The Wall, or also known as Viparita Karani, is the only pose you really need to practice! The particular asana happens to be a gently, restorative inversion. Although it is generally done just before yoga class ends, it happens to be great just by itself to relax the mind as well as the body.
When you have the ability to relax your body, you are able to relax your mind much more easily. This leads to falling asleep faster, deeper, and longer providing you with a much more restorative sleep and a better day the next day. Just before going to bed, do the Legs-Up-The-Wall. If it is the middle of the night and you’re still awake, you can do it then as well. Be sure to add in some deep, gently breathing as you’re practicing this asana. Anyone, including beginners, can do this pose!
How To Do The Legs Up The Wall Asana
Begin by sitting sideways having your right side up against a wall. Breathe out and bring your shoulders and head gently down to the ground while you slowly slide your legs up the wall. It may not be the easiest pose at first and may require some practice. Your buttocks do not necessarily need to be right up against the wall if your hamstrings are to tight and inflexible. Keep trying the pose until you work out the position that is best for you.
In fact, this is not a yoga pose meant to stretch your hamstrings so if you feel tightness in the hamstrings, just move a bit further from the wall. Don’t arch your back and keep your lower back flat on the floor. If your neck feels to flat on the floor, just use a small pillow or roll up a towel and place it under your neck. Put your hands out to your sides, palms up, and open up your shoulder blades.
Be sure to maintain relative firmness in your legs but only enough to keep them vertical up against the wall. In case you have a hard time keeping your legs straight, put a resistance band or yoga strap around your legs below your knees and then tighten it just enough to keep your legs vertical which will allow you to relax into the pose even further. Close your eyes and feel around in your body sensing for any tension and soften the tension in those areas of your body.
Using Consistent Or “Equal Breathing”
To enhance the relaxing nature of this asana, we can do this by concentrating on our breathing. Start by taking one hand on over to the lower part of your belly and your other hand and placing it over your heart. Use the natural rhythms of your breath to expand your awareness of your whole body.
When you feel comfortable here, start to take slow, deep gently breaths in and out without straining and forcing it. Matching the lengths of your inhales and exhales is what is called “equal breathing” (sama vritti yoga, “sama” means smooth and even while “vritti” means fluctuations), and it is said to provide an equilibrium of the flow of consciousness, smoothing fluctuations of the mind into stillness.
Remain in this position between five and twenty minutes allowing your breathing to go back to your regular rhythm. Keep aware of the feeling of calmness and tranquility that this asana provides. Once you are ready to end the pose, bend at your knees about halfway towards the chest and slowly roll to the side. You may utilize your arms to slowly and mindfully sit up, staying relaxed and calm.
Other Benefits & Disclaimers
Doing calming and restorative asanas may help soothe the body and quiet the mind while relieving you of anxiety and stress. Once your legs are straight and vertical against the wall and above your heart, gravity will assist with circulation of both lymphatic fluid and blood.
The Legs-Up-The-Wall is considered safe for the large majority of individuals, however if you are pregnant or have been diagnosed with, high blood pressure, glaucoma, or any serious problems with your spine, you should consult your doctor before attempting this pose.