Start by setting up a cozy space around a wall- my personal favorite is to just lie in bed with my legs up the headboard.
-Next, shimmy your hips as close to the wall as possible, then start walking your feet up the wall until your body is in a somewhat L-shaped position.
-Make any adjustments to facilitate a more relaxing space- maybe place a pillow under your head, or let your arms rest on your belly or out to the sides.
-At this point, focus on your breath- try elongating your breath, taking a deep, slow inhale through your nose and a deep, slow exhale through your nose. Try to stay in the pose for at least 5 minutes for optimal benefits.
Benefits of Legs Up the Wall Pose
The semi-supine aspect of the pose combined with controlled breathing leads to a slowing down within your body. This exhibits itself in a lowered heart rate which elicits a relaxation response and, in turn, helps lower anxiety, stress and insomnia.
2. Facilitates venous drainage and increases circulation
Elevating the legs promotes drainage from excess fluid build-up. In addition, gravity assists circulation by facilitating the return of blood back to the heart.
3. Soothes swollen or cramped feet and legs
Inverting the legs/feet has long been known as an effective treatment for reducing swelling and pain in the lower extremities. This can be therapeutic after flying, physical activity or from the detrimental effects of sitting/standing during the day.
4. Stretches the hamstrings and lower back
The angle of the body reduces the curve of the lumbar spine, which will elongate and stretch the back muscles. The closer your hips are to the wall, the more stretch you'll create in your hamstrings.
5. Relieves lower back tension
Pressure is released from the spine in a supine position (especially on a bed or cushion), relieving the back from mild strain.
6. Pelvic Floor Relaxation
The pelvic muscles naturally release and relax in this position (more so with a cushion under the pelvis) resulting in a constructive exercise for a hypertonic (tense) pelvic floor.