Viparita Karani: My Restorative Go-To Posture for Release and Low Back Relief

This is my go-to posture when I’m experiencing low back soreness, when my sciatica is acting up, or when I’m feeling like I need a shift in perspective. Flipping ourselves upside down in a posture like this has a deep effect on our inner body and mind. Shifting our perspective in this way can alleviate depression and anxiety and can bring us back to a clear mindset.

Viparita Karani

Entering this restorative posture is like entering a sacred space inside of yourself. It is a space where all that’s required is a letting go and a willingness to receive. We must be willing to receive the benefits this posture offers us.

I recommend spending at least 15 – 20 minutes in this pose. The more time spent here, the greater the benefits. I often find myself falling asleep in this posture as a deep sense of rest comes over me after the first 5 minutes spent in the pose. Focusing on the breath, following the rise and fall of the belly and chest become a therapeutic soundtrack to lead us deeper into ourselves.

Be careful in getting out of this posture, especially if you stay for a significant period of time.

*Those with glaucoma, hypertension or a hernia should not practice this posture. Not recommended for women on their period.*

Legs up the Wall Pose: Getting Yourself Set Up

  1. Place a bolster parallel to the wall about  1/2 – 1″ away from the wall.
  2. Place a single fold blanket over top of the bolster for extra cushion.
  3. Fold another blanket in thirds so that you have a support for your spine, this blanket will be placed perpendicular to the bolster, center and touching the base of the bolster.
  4. Grab another blanket or a small towel and roll it to create a small roll to be placed behind your neck, supporting your lower cervical spine. Place that to the side of your props.
  5. Side sideways on your bolster and lean back, working to bring your feet up the wall while your hands reach behind you, adjusting so that you sacrum is resting on the edge of the bolster closest to the wall. Lean back to rest over the props and readjust as you feel you need to.
  6. Once you are in position, you can keep your legs long or bend your knees to rest your legs on the wall like is easy pose or as in Baddha Koṇāsana.
  7. Stay in the pose for at least 10 – 15 minutes. You are welcome to stay longer as you like!
  8. When coming out of this pose sure to take as much time as you went in if not more. Carefully bend your knees and rest the sole of your feet on the wall and push yourself off the bolster, toward your head. Rest flat on the floor with your legs over the bolster for another 5 minutes at least before returning to a vertical position.

Tips: Make sure to take your time in setting yourself up. Fold the blankets so they are even, flat and firm. Make sure the spine on the floor is center to the bolster and that as you sit and lean back that your spine is supported completely.