Massage Therapists perform a variety of techniques during a session in order to relieve pain, stress and tension in your lower back and legs. But there is also a simple exercise that you can perform at home or at work that can help ease the discomfort when you’re not able to come in for a treatment.
Viparita Karani, also known as “Legs Up the Wall Pose” is a restorative yoga posture that relieves stress and tension in the lower body and simultaneously allows the mind to relax. All you need to do is find a comfortable place on the floor—grab a pillow, a towel or a blanket if you’d like-- shimmy your hips as close to the wall as possible and walk your feet up until your body is in an L-shaped position. If straightening your legs is uncomfortable, you can keep your knees bent. Another option is to lie on your bed and place your feet up on the wall or the headboard.
Stay present and focus on your breath or the sensations in your body. As you stay in the position, the muscles in your hamstrings and lower back will begin to relax, which will then help ease tension in the joints, tendons and ligaments of your legs, hips and lumbar spine. Elevating your legs in this pose is also great for circulation, draining any excess fluid from sitting or standing all day and facilitating the return of blood back to the heart.
Try Viparita Karani after a long day, intense physical activity or whenever you feel you need it. Or you can play some music, burn a candle and make it a daily ritual. Aim for keeping your legs elevated for five minutes when you first start, and work your way up to fifteen if you find it helpful. Please note this exercise is not recommended for anyone with glaucoma, hypertension or a hernia.