When it comes to managing stress, let’s face it, we aren’t fairing very well. Regular meditation practice, calming yoga classes, walks on the beach, long hot baths… they sound like wonderful ideas in theory however, if we’re really honest with ourselves, these restorative exercises seem more like a distant fantasy rather than a reality; but what if I told you that you could help turn off your body’s stress response from the comfort of your own home, no ‘ommm’ required? All you have to do is put your feet up… literally.
Placing your feet up against the wall is an old yogi practice that has been used to calm the mind and the body. The correct name for this posture is Viparita Karani that translates as ‘inverted action.’ Who doesn’t like a bit of action? 🙂
Sit on the floor as close to the wall as possible. Lying on your back, pop your feet up against the wall in a vertical position, whilst you wiggle your gluteus maximus as close to the wall as you can. You should form a perfect right angle between your legs and upper body. Tight hips? Put a pillow under your seat to ease any discomfort. Lie here for 5-20 minutes at a time. Take some deep breaths and let it all go.
- Your femur bones are dropping into your hip sockets, relaxing the muscles that help you walk and support your lower back.
- Your nervous system is getting a signal to slow down.
- When we are stressed, our body sends all of the blood to our peripheral, including that of our arms and legs in a bid to help us fight or flee from danger. Once our feet are up, blood starts to drain out of legs and feet, back to the central core where it can be used to stimulate a number of important functions.
- Eases stress
- Calms your nerves
- Helps you sleep (especially if you do it just before bed)
- Helps with poor digestion and circulation
- Helps to regulate your thyroid
- Calms your nerves
- Relieves headaches
- Stretches the hamstrings
- Relieves swollen ankles
- Great for mild sore lower back and/or menstrual cramps
- Relieves tension on varicose veins
So what have you got to lose? Set aside 10 minutes this weekend to put your feet up. I absolutely love this practice and when I can, you will find me doing twice a day.
Have you given this a try? Is it something you would consider?
Image sourced via Pinterest