Yoga: Legs Up the Wall
By Lisa Diers, RD, LD, ERYT
Director of Nutrition and Yoga Services Manager, The Emily Program
The first of our Emily Program yoga series begins with a classic pose for cultivating relaxation, aiding in stress reduction, and promoting a gentle stretch in the legs. In this video, you will see the pose in its more traditional form. However, there are several variations that can be taken to meet your current needs. Some physical modifications may include relaxing in this pose while lying in your bed, or by placing a folded blanket under your low back or head for added support. Other options could include using an eye pillow or incorporating aromatherapy. It's all about doing what feels good in your body and listening to what it needs.
Techniques to consider for anchoring your thoughts while in this pose:
- Invite your breath to calm your mind. Imagine your inhale breath "washes over" the chatter in your mind, as your exhale breath "carries away" unhelpful thoughts or feelings
- Attach a phrase or mantra to your breath. Think of your favorite quote or phrase and divide it in two. Attach the first half of your phrase to your inhale breath and the second half of your phrase to your exhale breath. Repeat this internally while you breathe. For example: Phrase= "Who I am is enough" The breakdown= As you Inhale, internally repeat: "Who I am" As you Exhale, internally repeat: "is enough". Continue this throughout your practice.
- Listen to relaxing music or a guided imagery. This can be a powerful way to settle into your body while keeping your focus from drifting to unhelpful thoughts. When your mind begins to wander (and it most likely will), simply take note when you notice this happening and bring your attention back to the music, your breath or the imagery. Try not to judge wandering thoughts (or judge the judging) and remind yourself it takes time and practice to invite calm into both body and mind.
Finally, remember that there is no right or wrong way to find true relaxation in YOUR body. Maybe you find it in Legs Up the Wall or in another pose. How you find your relaxation in yoga is unique to you. What's important to keep in mind is that every second of quiet, peace or relaxation that you create for yourself is a second more than you had before. Knowing you have the power to create and connect with this peace is the true beauty of your yoga practice.