Join Kate Dutton as she unpacks the sweetness of legs up the wall.
The morning edges are a little softer, the pools of sunshine deliver on their promise and the day brings the invitation to see the world anew again; fresh in all its colour, shape and sound. I noticed it myself this morning, a solo insect sounding out into the sun, its voice rising to demand the attention of a mate in the hope of bringing forward new birth, new life.
You may feel it too, the warm notes of spring and the shift from the inward qualities of winter. If you have had the chance to pay close attention to yourself through the colder months, you may begin to feel the expansion growing from within as the transition into spring begins. Just as a seed grows rapidly, expanding vigorously towards the light we too are drawn into the sun as it lengthens our days. The outward looking Yang qualities catch our attention and entice us out. The sudden rush of movement demanding our attention as it finds expression where once there was dormancy. The vibrancy of life beckons us to sharpen our vision and calls upon us to be much more focussed, in turn supporting us to see our world and ourselves with fresh eyes.
I find the increased energy exciting and captivating, a sense of purpose and happiness growing to match the element around me. However, I can often find myself caught up in the rapid nature of the days and weeks and in need of a pause to catch my breath, regather my energies and get set to go again. Perhaps you too may find yourself caught on the energetic rollercoaster of spring? It’s important to take a moment to turn our awareness in and understand where we are right now before planning and springing off into our future again.
One of my favourite ways to slow down fast is to get my legs up the wall in Viparati Karani. It is a beautiful inversion, accessible to many and has the most delicious effects on the body. By bringing relief to the legs, feet, spine and nervous system Viparati Karani allows the body to descend for a moment amongst the chaos, drop into a state of deep relaxation and renewal, and reveals to us a window into the here and now. This inversion brings into sharp focus the notion of receptivity as opposed to activity, literally and figuratively tipping the energy of spring on its head!
You can practice a supported version by setting a folded blanket or firm pillow on the floor against the wall. Make sure you have nothing on the wall or surrounds that will get in your way.
- Sit with your side against the wall. Your lower back should rest up against the edge of the pillow, if you’re using one.
- Mindfully turn your body, bringing your legs up onto the wall. If you are using a pillow, shift your lower back onto it before bringing your legs completely up, using your hands for balance as you shift your weight.
- Gently lower your back and lie down so you are able to rest your shoulders and head on the floor.
- Adjust yourself so that your buttocks are close to the wall. Let your arms rest open at your sides, palms facing up. If you’re using a pillow, your lower back should now be fully supported by it.
- Your legs may be straight or have a bend at the knee. The hamstrings should feel comfortable, not stretched. It is important you feel supported so that you can fully release into the pose, so take a moment to adjust your props and yourself to find comfort.
- This is where the magic happens. Close your eyes and allow yourself to let go. Resist any temptation to ‘work’ in the pose and instead allow your focus to turn within, breathing with awareness and using longer exhalations to slow your heart rate and calm your nervous system.
- Hold for 5-10 minutes but always with the option to come out if you feel any pain, discomfort or tingling sensations.
- To release, slowly push yourself away from the wall and slide your legs down to the right side. Pause here and take your time for before using your hands to press yourself back up into a seated position. Sit quietly, resting against the wall for a few minutes and notice the effects of the pose.
As with anything in yoga, this needs to feel right in your body, if it doesn’t, then stop. We all come to the mat with our unique anatomy, health and life experiences and must make space for these in our practice.
If you seek further knowledge or advice, please feel free to speak to any of the lovely staff at Yoga & Health Collective.
Women who are menstruating should consult with their teacher before practicing inversions. Do not practice this pose if you have glaucoma or other eye problems, or a serious back or neck injury. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
Kate teaches on the beginners course.
Mondays 7.15 pm
Fridays 5.30 pm
Saturdays 6.45 am