We’ve gone over the mental and physical benefits of practicing yoga in previous posts. Although some yoga postures are difficult to perform, this one, Viparita Karani, is not.
You might recall that we shared this pose in “Six Yoga Postures for Better Sleep”, published on February 15, 2017.
Viparita Karani, has become widely popular, especially among athletes, runners, dancers and stressed-out office workers due to its ability to relieve pain and reduce anxiety. What’s more, it provides relaxation for both the body and mind and everyone can perform it.
Viparita Karani triggers inversion of the actions in your body. In other words, when you elevate your legs, the lymph, which usually leads to swollen ankles and congested pelvic organs, flows into your lower belly, thus refreshing both your legs and reproductive system.
Benefits of Viparita Karani
- Reduces lower back pain
- Improves hamstring mobility
- Decreases inflammation
- Increases blood flow
- Provides relaxation
- Relieves stress
- Reduces edema in the feet and legs
- The inversion helps in the regulation of blood pressure
- Stimulates digestion
- Has a calming effect on the nervous system
- Helps you to quiet your mind
- Alleviates headaches
- Boosts energy
There are several therapeutic variations of this yoga posture, which you can perform depending on your abilities. If you are new to yoga, then start with the simplest version and gradually work your way into the more advances poses.
- The Wall Version
This is the simplest form of Viparita Karani and involves lying on your back with the legs extending straight up the wall (pictured above). If you are pregnant, place a pillow under your butt. Your feet should be facing the ceiling, while your arms should be open to keep your balance.
You can also keep your arms folded across your chest. The amount of stiffness in your hamstrings and hips determines how close to the wall your legs are.
- Wide “V” Version
This is the same as what was described above, but this time your legs should be spread into a wide “V” formation. This provides a deeper stretch in your groin area.
- Soles Together Version
Turn your knees outwards and put the soles of your feet together. Make sure your legs are fully pressed against the wall. You can also bring your feet down, close to the pelvic region. This pose gives an intense groin stretch, which may cause pain. If you feel too much discomfort, stop, your body is not yet ready for this.
- Advances Version
This version requires mobility and balance. If you found the first version pretty challenging, then keep doing that. On the other hand, if you were comfortable preforming the previous three variations, you are ready for the advanced version.
If you feel pain while performing any of the above poses, then practice the one that doesn’t cause any discomfort.
For those of you who feel ready for the advanced version, check out the video below:
Avoid performing Viparita Karani if you suffer from serious neck or back problems. In such cases, make sure you consult your physiotherapist beforehand. People with glaucoma, hernia and hypertension should avoid performing this pose, as well as women during menstruation.
However, if you do not have any health issues, you can practice Viparita Karani before each athletic event since it relieves stress, reduces pain, provides relaxation and increases blood flow. Make sure you practice it for 10-15 minutes a day.
That’s it for this week; see you all next time.