My favorite Yoga winter pose (asana) for this period is a supported Viparita Karani – also called simply ‘legs up the wall pose’ – for which there are Sanskrit translations called both ‘upside down seat pose’ as well as ‘reversing attitude’.
I would recommend doing this pose every day when you feel you need some space for yourself. It is also a great pose to do before retiring to bed in the evenings as well as when you get back home from a busy day or morning. It can easily be practiced in a hotel room or even a conference room when you are out travelling, or if you have the luxury of your own office why not use a corner there?
winter yoga pose – legs up the wall
All you need is a wall, a floor and a blanket or two. Instead of a blanket you can also use towels, a cushion, or a few books. You start with piling up your blanket/s about 10 cm’s from the wall. If you have a yoga mat, place your mat first with one of its short sides against the wall and then the blankets on top of it. Now comes the only challenging part of the whole posture (☺), which is manoeuvering your legs up the wall and the lowest part of your buttocks – or to be more exact – your sitting bones against the wall.
One way of doing this, which also happens to be the easiest way, is sitting on the pile of blankets you build with the side of your body facing the wall and then turning 45 degrees to get your legs up the wall and your torso down onto the floor. You might end up sliding away from the wall with your sitting bones at first, or you might not even get to the wall with your sitting bones at all. Do not worry! You can simply use your elbows to walk your body closer to the wall until you are in position.
If you have short hamstrings – the muscles on back of the thighs connecting to the lower back – you might find yourself with your sitting bones not touching the wall but being about 10 – 20 cm’s away. No problem, that is fine for now too. The only thing that is important is to have your pelvis resting on your blankets or cushion and your lower back feeling supported. Allow your knees to bend for the weight of the legs to sink in to the pelvis.
Exhale deep, allowing your pelvis to become heavier and heavier with each exhalation. Keep your focus at the crest of the throat while resting in this pose for as long as you’d like. If you are under time pressure, make sure to give yourself at least 4-5 minutes in Viparita Karani, gently working your way up to 10 or even 15 minutes the coming months when you have the time.
Try elongating the legs and then allowing the knees to bend again, allowing them to sink all the way down to your chest even if you like – giving yourself a chance to feel what feels best for you in that moment, long or relaxed legs, as every moment is different and so are you in that moment.
To come out of the pose, bend the knees and roll to your right side. Allow all the weight of the body to sink to the right before pushing yourself up gently to a sit.
Observe how you feel and where you want to go from there. This is your moment of reset.
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