legs up the wall

I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this before but now that I actually have a wall I can use for this pose I thought I’d do it again with some photos (and a video) to show you how good it feels!

Last weekend I found myself unexpectedly hit by some grief and the sadness became quite overwhelming in a way that it hasn’t been since last October. I felt immobilised and I wasn’t sure how to get moving again. It never ceases to amaze me quite how grief can have such a physical impact…

Long story short, when I eventually got around to having a shower, I realised that I had recently (accidentally) created a space in my workout room where I could comfortably lie with my legs up the wall. I also remembered that I had a stash of ‘spacemasks’ which had been waiting for just this moment, so I put the two things together and did this:

There is something so gently restorative about giving your weight to the floor, closing your eyes and tuning-in to your breath. It was exactly what I needed in that moment.

So why is it good for us to lie with legs up the wall?

  • relaxation – with your body supported in this position, you can release and let go of areas which might usually hold tension; as you do so your breathing rate will slow and you will feel a deep sense of relaxation; closing your eyes or using an eye mask will increase the sense of relaxation
  • venous return – elevating the feet improves blood flow back to the heart and reduces any residual swelling in the feet, ankles and lower legs, which can be caused by prolonged periods of sitting (at a desk or whilst travelling)
  • back pain & spinal alignment – this position is ideal for gently releasing any tightness in the muscles of the lumbar spine, which can improve your posture once you come back to an upright position; it also facilitates optimum alignment through the thoracic spine, reducing tension in the upper back, shoulder girdle and neck
  • hamstring stretch – this position is useful for gently stretching the muscles in the backs of the thighs; the key is to lengthen the space at the back of your knees so position yourself in a way that allows this to happen; as your hamstrings become less tight you may find that you can move your hips closer to the wall
  • pelvic floor – if you have hypertonic (tense) pelvic floor muscles, this can be is a useful release position, allowing tension to normalise; too much tension in this area is as damaging as too little tension

How to get yourself into position:

The goal is to stay here a while (5-15 minutes is good) so you’ll need to be comfortable:

  • you will need a mat underneath you and maybe a blanket on top of the mat too; you might feel more comfortable with a folded blanket or towel under your hips and maybe another under the back of your head; if you want to get super-cosy, have a blanket to cover yourself with too!
  • I used a self-heating eye mask but a standard eye mask or a weighted eye pillow would be great too – it helps to have something to block out the light as it helps you to ‘drop-in’ to yourself and shut out external stimuli
  • start by lying down on one side with your legs bent and your bottom near to the wall; as you roll onto your back, take your legs and feet up the wall, into whatever position feels comfortable; have a wriggle about until you feel comfortable
  • leave a small gap between your bottom and the wall so that you don’t restrict the circulation across the front of your hip joint
  • bring your focus to your breathing and enjoy some time to yourself
  • when you’re ready to come back out of it, bring your knees to your chest and roll gently back onto your side; I like to come into a child’s pose stretch to finish before coming back to standing

Watch the video here:

Wishing you a relaxing, feet-up-the-wall weekend Jx

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