Tracy Adshead is a yoga teacher specialising in yoga for seniors. She is passionate about bringing healing and healthy ageing to the community.
The yoga posture 'Legs Up the Wall' has many great benefits for the body. While reversing the effects of gravity on legs and feet this posture enables stagnant fluids to move, fluids that may build up if you have low blood pressure or edema. Standing or sitting for long periods requires the circulation to work hard pumping blood from the legs back to the heart.
Practising Legs Up the Wall allows gravity to assist with both the circulation of blood and the drainage of lymphatic fluid in the legs and feet. If you’re wondering where these fluids go as they drain, the lymph system is the bodies ‘rubbish collection’ system - it picks up toxins and stagnant fluids such as those that collect with edema and carries them away for elimination.
Resting in 'Legs Up the Wall' is also good for relieving tried leg muscles and draining away tension. Use gravity to your advantage by allowing your body to fully relax in the posture for 10 to 15 minutes or you may like to start with a just few minutes. Although Legs Up the Wall is safe for most individuals, including those who have osteoporosis, it’s not suitable if you have glaucoma or for those taking medication for high blood pressure. Also if you have serious neck or spine issues talk to your doctor first.
Three ways to get into Legs Up the Wall posture:
- The first way is very simple - lay down on the bed with your head towards the foot of the bed, wiggle yourself as close as you can towards the bedhead. Lift your legs up on to the wall, try to get as close as you can to the wall.
- If you are able to get down on the floor - place a blanket (or a yoga mat) and a pillow on the floor beside a wall, make sure there is plenty of space around you. Sit down on the floor with your right hip touching the wall. In one movement, lift your legs up on to the wall as you lye down on your back making a sort of 90 degree angle with you body.
- Alternative using a chair - lie down on the floor on your back, lift up your legs and place the calf muscles up on to the base of a chair or the couch.
To come out of the posture draw your knees towards your chest, roll over on to one side and pause there for a minute or two checking on your blood pressure - is there any pounding between your ears? If so, stay here for a few more minutes. When you feel ready gently sit up, take a few deep breaths here before carefully coming up to standing.
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