Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

Legs Up The Wall Pose, Viparita Karani, (vip-par-ee-tah car-AHN-ee)

viparita (inverted or reversed) + karani (action)

Also Known as: Inverted Pose

Pose Type: Restorative, Supine, Inversions, Headaches

Difficulty: Beginner

woman doing the legs up the wall pose in a yoga studio with a blanket under her head

Come to rest as you put your legs up the wall and experience a refreshing renewal.

legs up the wall Pose Fundamentals

Legs Up The Wall isn’t just a physical inversion, but it is also an invitation to invert your concept of doing yoga.

When entering this Asana, we peel back the layers and put ourselves in the role of the reciever, the student.

It can be hard to find stillness in a world where we are so often generating and doing. But when we surrender to just being we often find that doing less can teach us more about ourselves than doing more.

legs up the wall Benefits

  • Brings relief to the legs, feet, spine, and nervous system. 
  • Can help us to sleep more deeply and to combat insomnia.
  • A gentle way to bring the body into a state of deep relaxation and renewal.
  • Regulates your respiratory system.
an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing legs up the wall pose

How To Do legs up the wall Pose: Step-By-Step

How To Get There:

1. Position the short end of your mat straight against the wall.

2. With your head furthest from the wall, lie on your back with arms spread comfortably at your side, knees hugging into your chest, and feet flat against the wall. Stay here for 10 breaths.

3. Release your legs and gently walk your feet up the wall in front of you, until they are completely straight and flat against the wall. Make sure your sit bones are also against the wall. Stay here for 10 deep breaths.

4. Alternate between the feet / legs on the wall positions as described above, repeating 4-6 times. As you breathe during this practice, try to draw the air deep into all four sides of your torso.

For a variation, try crossing your legs while they are elevated against the wall.

Tips And Tricks:

  • If gravity means that your legs splay apart naturally, you can loop a strap around your thighs or shins. That way your legs will comfortaby stay hip distance apart.

legs up the wall Pose Variation: Legs Up The Wall With A Bolster

  • woman doing legs up the wall yoga pose with a bolster under her hips
  • woman doing legs up the wall yoga pose with a bolster under her hips in a yoga studio

Place a bolster or folded blanket under your hips to take pressure off your lower back and assist with proper alignment.

How to get there:

1. Place the bolster a few inches away from the wall. The bolster is for the support of your lower back. 

2. Sit sideways on the bolster with your right side against the wall, gently swing your legs up unto the wall and your shoulders and head down unto the floor. 

3. Adjust your body into the pose (coming into this pose can take some practice). Rest your sacrum and lower back on the bolster and your legs relaxed against the wall.

4. Experiment until you find the placement that works for you. Shoulders in the mat and neck and scalp relaxed.

5. Stay in the pose for 5-10 minutes.

Precautions & Contraindications:

Pregnancy:

After the third month of pregnancy it is not reccommended you lie on your back. Have a look at our Yoga Poses for Pregnancy for yoga ideas to suit you.

Back Pain:

If you are experiencing back pain, be mindful of placing too may props under your hips. Some support is good, however, be wary of stacking the props too high to avoid creating an arch in the lower back. If you experience any pain, come out of the pose.

Related Poses

Preparatory Poses:

Standing Forward Bend

Reclined Bound Angle Pose

Counter Poses:

Corpse Pose

Easy Pose

yogajala break 1000 × 40 px 1

For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Yoga Pose Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga asana to deepen your yoga knowledge.

Each pose page features high-quality photos, anatomy insights, tips and tricks, pose instructions and queues, asana variations, and preparatory and counter poses.

Photo of author
Maria Andrews is a 200h Registered Yoga Teacher, long distance runner, and adventure lover. She finds joy in learning, experiencing, and connecting.

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