Ah, bless. I just have to start with this: I just sent my partner out to get groceries and flowers for the house. He came back with a well-wrapt bunch of, well, twigs. And worse, someone robbed the poor boy of $15 for them! Definitely not pretty poppies or tulips in bouncy summer colours!
Anyway, I wanted to share an exercise I’ve been doing recently, and recommending to any stress-prone clients of mine also – and that is the beautiful restorative pose Viparita Karani.
If you ever wondered where that saying came from, put your feet up, then this is where. Literally putting your feet up the wall is actually an old Yogi practice. Viparita Karani translates as ‘inverted action.’
According to old Hindu scriptures, it smoothes out wrinkles and banishes old age. Bonus!
All you have to do, is take some quiet time for yourself, find a wall, wiggle that toush as close as you can, perhaps wedging a pillow or bolster underneath your hips, and slide your feet up so that they are perfectly vertical. Lay your hands at your side and pop on some soothing music and an eye mask and hang out for a bit.
Start with chilling like this for 5-15 minutes, paying close attention to your breath. When you come out of the pose, do so gently.
When you literally put your feet up the wall, you are signalling to your body that it is time to switch from the highly stressed sympathetic nervous system state to the rest and repair state of the parasympathetic nervous system.
When you are stressed, and in the fight or flight mode, your clever bod directs all blood flow to the periphery in order to power up those arms and legs in order to fight, or flee a stressful or dangerous situation. This is fine short term, but long term, it leaves no juice in the belly to go about doing important things like digest your food. I guess in a way, you could say that this pose will help encourage you to maintain a healthy weight – as being stuck in that sympathetic state stores fat in case of an emergency.
It is the simple act up putting the feet up to gently redirect the blood flow from the periphery to the core that helps you restore yourself to a more balanced state.
- Sends blood flow to the core
- Alleviates menstrual cramps
- Relieves swollen ankles
- Relieves varicose veins
- Improves digestion
- Eases stress
- Helps you sleep
- Calms your nerves
- Relieves headaches