Legs up the wall pose / Viparita Karani – Fertility Yoga pose spotlight

Legs up the wall pose (or Viparita Karani in Sanskrit) has to be one of my favourite yoga poses. What’s not to love? It’s restorative. It helps circulation and lymph flow. It can help improve digestion and relieve leg and feet cramps. Sleep and thyroid function can also be improved by practising this pose. These are just some of the reasons why it also has so many benefits for fertility.

legs up the wall pose

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Benefits of legs up the wall pose for fertility 

  • helps to relax the body and reduce stress
  • can help relieve menstrual cramps (Some yoga traditions recommend not practising during menstruation. However, I find this one the only inversion I like practising during my period. Do what feels right for you).
  • helps improve circulation and lymph flow
  • relieves headaches
  • stretches the back of the legs and can relieve lower back pain

When shouldn’t you practise legs up the wall?

With high blood pressure

It’s recommended that you stay away from legs up the wall if you have high blood pressure as this pose may increase it further. If you have high blood pressure you may be able to work up to this pose gradually using props, but this should be done with support from your doctor.

With glaucoma

Legs up the wall pose (and other inversions) increase intraocular pressure (the fluid within your eyes), making this pose unsafe if you have glaucoma.

What props should you use to practise legs up the wall?

Blanket or mat

Place your blanket or mat up against the wall, especially if you are practising on a hard wooden floor. We often stay in legs up the wall for 5 minutes or longer so you want to make sure you are comfortable.

Optional – bolster or sandbag

It can feel really nice to have a bolster or sandbag resting on the feet (see image above). This helps to increase the stretch in the legs and improve the grounding feeling of this posture. To add a bolster or sandbag to your feet, have your props close by as you move to lie with the legs up the wall. Once comfortable, bend your knees and place the props on the feet and slowly straighten the legs. (Or you could always ask a friend or your teacher to help position them for you.)

Optional – eye pillows

While we’re at it, why not complete this relaxation package by adding an eye pillow. Ahhhh – bliss!

How to practice legs up the wall pose

Come to sit against the wall side-on, with one hip touching. Swing your legs up the wall as you come to lie down. Your bottom should be touching the wall. If it isn’t you can shuffle in a little closer.

Relax your upper body and let your hands relax.

Draw your toes towards you and gently press your legs into the wall. (It’s okay if your knees need to stay bent.)

Close down your eyes. Stay here for 5 – 20 minutes.

Which stages of the cycle can you practise legs up the wall pose?

This pose is suitable for all stages of the cycle and during pregnancy. If it feels uncomfortable for you during menstruation, please skip it.

When should you practise?

Legs up the wall pose is the perfect way to end your yoga practise and is a great one to move from into savasana. There really is no wrong time to practise legs up the wall though. I often practise it after a long day on my feet, just before bed or if I’m having trouble sleeping.

If you’re brand new to practising fertility yoga you can download my free guide here.

Or if you’re a yoga teacher looking for information about teaching fertility yoga, you can download my free teaching guide and resources here.

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