There is a yoga posture that has often been called the "yogi cure all" and can be used for just about any ailment. The best part is that it is simple and easy to do. For anyone who held the excuse that they aren't flexible and could never do any yoga this posture is a great place to start.
Vaprita Karani or Legs Up the Wall Pose is pretty self explanatory. (see picture to the left)
Here are a couple of tips:
* Sitting next to the wall, bring your hips as close to the wall as you can.
* Protect your back by laying on your side and then gently swing your legs up against the wall. It it not imperative that your legs be at a 90 angle against the wall, only that your legs are straight. If the back of your legs feel tight, scoot your hips away from the wall until you find a place of comfort and ease in your body.
* You might also place a pillow under your hips or lengthwise along your spine for more comfort and higher elevation.
* Your arms can rest at your sides, out into a "t" or up over your head.
The ancient yogis believed that "legs up the wall" pose was a cure-all. They believed that once the feet were up over the head in a resting posture a secret serum was released from the heels and would gently trickle down to wherever the ailment was and could especially assist with headaches, low back pain, varicose veins, anti-aging and metabolism. These ancient yogis were such fans of "legs up the wall" they felt it had just as much benefit on the body if held for 10 minutes a day as a full yoga class does.
This pose is doing many things physiologically.
>> helping to traction the spine, alliviating pressure through the low back
>> reversing the direction of circulation giving the veins of the legs a break from gravity which also helps slow the aging process and nourish circulation.
>> bringing fresh circulation to the head
>> assisting the blood pressure to decrease
To release from this pose gently walk your feet down the wall and bring your knees into your chest. You might enjoy rocking from side to side. To protect your back roll on to your side (you might prefer to rest on your side for a moment) and slowly push yourself back to a seated posture.
While holding this posture close your eyes and practice some deep breathing. Imagine a balloon in your abdomen. With your inhale imagine filling this balloon up with any stress or tension and with your exhale imagine your balloon slowly deflating letting your stress or tension out. Focus on slow, long exhales to promote further relaxation in your body. You might be aware of a tingling sensation in your legs or even feel your back naturally start to loosen.
If you need some help relaxing you might consider a meditation CD. Whole Health Meditations offers 7 unique meditations ranging from a 5 minute meditation to a 30 minute meditation.
To order your CD visit http://www.wholehealthprograms.com/
For more information on restorative yoga visit www.yogajournal.com/basics/991
Whole Health Acupuncture offers gentle yoga classes in Mt. Prospect at St. Emily's Church in the gathering center every Monday and Thursday 4:00-5:00 for $5.
We also recommend Tribalance Yoga in Schaumburg http://www.hotyogis.com Stop by Whole Health Acupuncture to receive a free class pass for Tribalance.
www.yogachicago.com is also a wonderful resource for yoga classes in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Look for the free publication Yoga Chicago around town as well.