The viparita karani, also known as the inverted lake pose or legs up the wall pose, is a mild reverse pose. It has anti-aging properties in addition to a slew of other health benefits. According to hindu scriptures, the viparita karani not only reduces wrinkles but also delays the onset of old age and death. As a restorative pose, this asana allows blood to flow freely throughout the body. And, as a result, it can help in preventing almost any ailment.
Viparita means “reverse,” and karani means “action to complete a task” in sanskrit. Viparita karani is a root term that means “action of reversing.”
The Science Behind The Viparita Karani:
The asana is a stimulating inversion which relieves the backbone, feet, legs and the nervous system. It softens the body into a complete state of relaxation. Every yoga student can do this asana no matter the level of experience. It is said that your body and brain moves to a pure state when you take some time off from your day to reverse the movements of action and performance. This permits the mind to enter a deep meditative state. It also calms the brain and increases self-consciousness. This asana is normally made at the end of yoga just before your body enters the savasana because of the calming benefits of this pose. However, this asana can also be performed independently.
What You Should Know Before You Do The Viparita Karani:
Before you practise this asana, make sure your stomach and bowels are empty. Eat at least four to six hours before doing the asana so that your food can be digested and you can expend enough energy during the practice.
How To Do The Viparita Karani:
Numerous people enjoy using props like bolsters, pillows, and folded blankets while doing this asana because it is a remedial pose. While performing this asana, keep a prop of your choice nearby. Then take the following steps.
- Find a suitable area close to the wall and sit beside it, so that your feet are on the ground and are stretched out until you and your body touches the wall.
- Breathe out. Lie on the back and ensure your legs’ back press against the wall and your feet ‘ soles face up. You will have to move a little bit in this position to get comfortable.
- Place or push your buttocks away a little from the wall.
- Make sure that you rest on your back and head. Your body forms an angle of 90 degrees.
- Slide a prop up below them and lift up your hips. You can also use your hands to support your lower body hips and shape the curve.
- Keep your head and neck straight and soften your neck and face.
- Breathe and close your eyes. Maintain the position for 5 minutes at least. Rolling on and off on one side. Breathe before you sit.
- First of all, slowly lower the back and remove the hand from the back.
- Sit down on the floor with your palms.
- Lower the legs to the floor, but do not bend.
As a newcomer, you may struggle to achieve proper alignment in this pose. You must ensure that your head is strongly pressed against the wall. To do this, you must breathe. It helps release your back, stomach and neck. You need to imagine the inhalation descending through the torso and pushing the thigh’s heads near the wall. Allow your thigh bones to push harder on the wall, and pull your torso away from the wall every time you exhale.
When your legs are against the wall, you can spread them out in a wide ‘V’ if you have enough area. The groin and thighs will stretch more as a result of this. Alternately, bend the knees and touch the soles together to increase the stretch. Then, slide the outer edges of your feet down and bring your heels closer to your pelvis. To increase groin stretch, press your hands against the top of your inner thighs.
The other variation of this asana is Sarvangasana.
Sarvangasana is a yoga inversion that is performed at the end of a practise to promote cleansing blood flow in the body and an inner sense of calm. Sarva means “all,” anga means “limb,” and asana means “pose” or “posture” in sanskrit. In english, sarvangasana is also known as shoulder stand pose.
Difference Between Viparita Karani and Sarvangasana:
- The back of viparita Karani is not completely straight. It is inclined at an angle between 45° and 60°. The back and legs are 90° from the ground in sarvangasana.
- In viparita karani the flexibility in the rear corner here keeps the muscles of the throat relaxed – allowing energy to move into the chakra bindu in the face. Whereas in sarvangasana the steep angle creates pressure around the throat muscles – energy flow is therefore limited only to the throat chakra.
- Because the shoulder doesn’t bear as much weight in this position, viparita karani is also known as half shoulder stand. Whereas sarvangasana stands on the shoulder because nearly all the body weight reaches the shoulders.
Best Time to Perform Viparita Karani:
Viparita karani, like other inverted yoga poses, is best practised first thing in the morning after bowel movements and a shower. The body’s metabolic and other activities are already at their peak during the day. In this situation, reversing the body’s natural flow will have more negative consequences than benefits.
However, after 3 hours of a regular meal, it is possible to do it in the afternoon. You can also begin after a 10-minute rest in Shavasana.
Because of its inversion and flow reversing properties, viparita karani has a wide range of therapeutic applications.
It is explained in kriya yoga, that ageing is the result of the nectar (fluid) downstream from bindu (in the skin) to chakra manipura (in the navel). This nectar flow back to the bindu is reversed by viparita karani, so it is anti-ageing.
Viparita karani increases blood circulation to the brain that helps to treat brain failure and senile dementia efficiently. Hemorrhoids, veins of the varicose veins and some hernia are cured.
“After six months of meditation, grey hairs and lines go away,” according to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. “Three hours of Viparita Karani preparation is all it takes to defeat death.”
Modern teachers, however, also advise that viparita karani usually helps to overcome premenstrual, menopause, menstrual cramps and insomnia. This mudra stimulates the thyroid gland by exerting pressure around the throat muscles. It re-equalizes hypoactive thyroid functions.
Viparita Karani Benefits:
- Viparita Karani’s ‘Legs up the wall’ variation relaxes lower physique muscles and loosens stress from tight legs.
- Activates the throat chakra, which helps you express yourself, feelings and creativity better.
- Increases digestive juice secretions so that the digestive process is increased. Thus, it increases appetite.
- Improves body cell metabolism leads to a decrease in the fat around the belly of obese people.
- The cellular fluid aggregated in lower areas of the body enters into circulation when the head turns upside down.
- The vascular tone and elasticity, preventing atherosclerosis, are restored (a condition of fats, cholesterol, and other substances accumulation in artery walls).
- Helpful to soothe the mild reverse pain.
- Gives the back of the nose, legs, front torso and pelvis a gentle stretch.
- A study suggested that reverse positions like viparita karani reinforce the muscle of the heart and therefore improves circulation and decreases heart disease risk.
Precautions And Contraindications:
- Make sure your bowels are empty before performing viparita karani. Do laghoo shankha prakshalana before it, especially when you have constipation.
- In high blood pressure, heart problems, and thyroid disorders, this reverse posture should be avoided.
- Keep 6 hours between your practice and dinner if you are using viparita karani for a longer period of time.
- Come slowly out of the pose if you feel a heavy head.
This is one of the most effective yoga poses that brings in a lot of health benefits. With regular practice you can improve your posture as well as internal strength. So, start performing yoga for your overall health.