Legs Up the Wall Pose (with or without a bolster) is the supported version for the asana Leg Lift, Extended, or in Sanskrit Ūrdhva Prasārita Pādāsana (OORD-vah prah-SAAH-ree-tah paah-dah-AHH-sah-nah). You may have also heard this asana referred to as:

  • Inverted Pose (Viparita Karani)
  • Upward Extended Feet Pose
  • Lifted Spread
  • Lifted Stretch
  • Stretch-Out Foot Pose
  • Raised Stretched-Out Foot Pose
  • Half Plow (Ardha Halasana)

When practiced in a Restorative Yoga class, this asana is practiced up against a wall, instead of using the abs to lift the legs and then extending the arms overhead. The Restorative Yoga variation is a simple way to practice this asana and is great after a long day of work, as it helps students to regain a sense of calm and restore their bodies. It also helps to reinvigorate tired legs and feet. Whether you practice the traditional asana (drawing the legs up with the abs and then extending the arms overhead) or the restorative variation (practicing up against a wall with or without a bolster) this asana is great for students who have throat ailments, have palpitations, or have difficulty breathing due to breathlessness or bronchitis. It can also help calm the nervous system, improve posture and spinal alignment, and soothe back stiffness. For a refresher on how the traditional asana is practiced, and cues that are important in either the traditional or restorative variations, see below.

Now that we have had a refresher on the traditional asana, lets talk about the restorative variations. Legs Up the Wall Pose can be practiced either with or without a bolster under the hips. However, it is worth mentioning that practicing with a bolster is more common. This is because practicing with a bolster is great for students with back discomfort. As discussed previously, our daily activities cause us to round our backs. This causes stress on the lower back which causes discomfort and pain. Because of this, placing a bolster under the hips helps to relieve this discomfort. Students can also utilize other props, if preferred, like putting a block, pillow, or blanket under the hips. Another modification that can be done is to place either a pillow or blanket under the head/neck. This is great for students with a tight neck or shoulders, or students that have had a neck or shoulder injury. For an example of this asana using these props, see the below video.

Even practicing with the above modifications however, there are some contraindications to follow.

Contraindications
1. Students with severe hip or lower back injuries should avoid this pose or perform with caution, along with props, modifications, and guidance.
2. Students with severe pain and discomfort in the neck, have a weak lower back, are in the later stages of pregnancy, have glaucoma, or have high/low blood pressure should avoid this pose unless practiced with modifications, props, and guidance.

Lastly, see below for a breakdown of the chakras that are affected by this asana along with how it affects the doshic balance of the body. You will see that even though the doshic balance is not affected by practicing this asana with a bolster under the hips, the chakras are.

Legs Up the Wall Pose With a Bolster

Chakras
Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra Two:Sacral or Svadhisthana (sweetness) Chakra. This is the chakra for emotion, sexuality, and attraction of opposites. Its goals are fluidity, pleasure, and relaxation. Its location is the abdomen, genitals, lower back, and hips.

Doshas
VataThis dosha is balanced in this asana.
PittaThis dosha is increased in this asana.
KaphaThis dosha is decreased in this asana.

Legs Up the Wall Pose Without a Bolster

Chakra
Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.

Doshas
VataThis dosha is balanced in this asana.
PittaThis dosha is increased in this asana.
KaphaThis dosha is decreased in this asana.


Additional information on this asana

  • In the textbook “YOGA: THE PATH TO HOLISTIC HEALTH by B.K.S. Iyengar
    • CHAPTER 5: YOGA FOR STRESS
      • Asanas for Stress
        • Viparita Karani (Inverted pose)

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