Viparita karani, often referred to as Inverted Lake Pose or Legs up the Wall pose, is definitely one of the easiest and simplest poses that virtually everyone can perform at home. It has become all rage along dancers, athletes, runners, and stressed-out workers due to its ability to both alleviate pain and tightness and calm the mind and reduce anxiety. It is one of the best things you can do for yourself at the end of a tough day or before an important event.
Viparita Karani Variations
There are a few different ways to perform this pose, and whichever you choose depends on your own abilities.
Legs Straight up the Wall Version
Lie on the back with your bum against the wall, or as close to the wall as possible, with the legs raised straight up the wall hip distance apart. Feel free to prop the bum up on a pillow, particularly if you are pregnant. The soles of the feet should be facing upward toward the ceiling and the arms should be placed beside you for balance. The amount of stiffness in the hips determines how close to the wall your legs are. Ideally, the will be touching the wall, but it might take a while for you to get there.
Legs in a Wide “V” Version
For a deeper stretch in the groin, you can do the exact same position except instead of keeping your feet hip distance apart, you can spread your legs into a wider V formation. This will increase the stretch in your groin area while still being quite gentle.
Soles Together Version
Turn the knees outward and put the soles of the feet together, with the legs pressed against the wall. This is quite an intense stretch, allowing you to experience the deepest groin stretch from the pose.
This version requires more mobility and balance. If it`s challenging for you, stay there.
Benefits of Viparita Karani
1. Increases Blood Flow and Decreases Inflammation
This pose increases blood flow and circulation, particularly after a day of sitting or standing for an extended period of time. It reduces swellings as well, especially swelling in the feet, ankles, and calves.
2. Improves Hamstring Mobility and Reduces Lower Back Pain
This pose stretches out the hamstrings, which often become shortened as a result of sitting at a desk all day, causing lower back pain. By performing this pose, you will relieve the pressure on the lower back, relieve pain, and improve hamstring mobility.
3. Who Shouldn’t Perform Viparita Karani
Though Viparita Karani is a relatively gentle pose, it still is not for everyone. Those with serious back and neck problems should avoid this pose unless under the guidance and with the help of their physiotherapist or certified instructor. If any pain or discomfort is felt at all, they should be removed from the pose as quickly as possible.
This pose is an inversion, so those with serious eye conditions such as glaucoma should also not perform this pose. (1, 2) It should also be avoided during menstruation.