So maybe not the MOST calming pose – but close!
I have been sharing on social media a bit about my journey lately. I may eventually tell the whole tale, but it really isn’t my story to share.
Suffice it to say, I have been in the depths of the most stress of my life. The pandemic fueled it as well as a few other challenges – all bottled up to create a bit of chaos.
Suffice it to say, I have been diving into my Yoga to help me cope and handle my chronic fatigue – which understandably flairs during extreme stress.
This pose has been a life saver. Life. Saver.
And, I will add, it IS the most relaxing and calming Yoga pose for me, especially when I am only doing one pose.
In order to truly relax (as in step into parasympathetic nervous system dominance – happy to explain that one if you want, just let me know), I usually need to do a few different poses. I can’t just lay in Savasana or Child’s Pose. I need to do a few relaxing stretches first for them to truly help me.
Not this pose.
I can toss my feet up the wall (or headboard or closet door) and within a few minutes, I feel the shift.
(So much so, that when I am teaching the pose, I demonstrate it and then come out. If I stay even for a minute, I can step into that glorious relaxed state and forget I am teaching! 🙂 )
There is actually a physiological response that occurs in this pose to help you relax: Baroreceptor Reflex.
We have specialized neurons that work to keep your blood pressure fairly consistent.
For example: When you stand up, blood pressure drops. The neurons tell the body, in a fraction of a second to increase blood pressure and blood flow to the brain so you don’t pass out.
In feet up the wall blood pressure in the brain goes up. The neurons react to lower blood pressure.
As blood pressure lowers, it tells the body that things are ok and the body can relax.
I recommend using the pose anytime you need a little breather during the day or right before bed.
Make it more beneficial by: (I know, I said you don’t need to do anything but the pose to relax, but these things just take it up a notch!)
- Massage your feet before you take them up. AND you can make the massage more calming by rubbing grounding essential oils in to your feet. I like tree oils for grounding: black spruce, copaiba as well as Young Living blends that are made for grounding: Grounding, Valor and Sacred Mountain are my favorites.
- Adding meditation to your session.
Feet up the Wall Variations
Check out this week’s Yoga video for a few variations to this pose, including ways to make it more relaxing, how to adjust for tight hamstrings, variations with the legs and arms and more!
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One more thought…be careful if…
This pose is NOT recommended if…
1. Eye issues: You have any kind of eye issues that would make high blood pressure in the eyes dangerous, such as a detached retina.
2. High Blood Pressure: You have high blood pressure. Caveat: The general rule is just don’t but over the years I have found that students who are medicated to normal pressure have done just fine. (I only shared with students who had a blood pressure cuff and could test themselves afterward to see. They all did fine.)
3. Menstrual Cycle: Again, there is a caveat. Many Yoga practitioners feel you should keep your heart above your hips and your legs when you are on your cycle. I always found I felt fine as long as my hips were at the same level as my heart. So as long as I didn’t do the variation with my hips elevated, I did just fine. BUT test it for yourself. It will feel “off” if it isn’t right for you. I know that sounds a bit vague, but I find students always seem to know.
Let me know how it goes! Comment if you enjoy this pose and if you try any of the variations!
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Check out The Lowerback Workshop ($7) This package includes a workshop on more reasons why lower backs can be an issue (and might help you with yours) and a short series for releasing the lower back.