Yoga for Runners: Legs Up the Wall

The other day in my “Disney Feet” post I mentioned one of my favorite yoga poses, Viparita Karini or Feet Up the Wall (and YES, this IS a real yoga pose!).  I didn’t go into many details about the benefits of this pose, so I thought it would be a good time to share a post I wrote for a Yoga for Runners series on my friend Sarah’s blog Running at Disney!

With the heat and humidity creeping up and those training runs getting longer I promise you’ll find yourself looking forward to doing this pose!

Legs Up the Wall, or Viparita Karini as it is called in Sanskrit (the language yoga is often taught in) is as simple as it sounds and looks. Begin sitting on the floor with one side of your body up against a wall. Slowly roll down to the floor so that your bottom is scooted right up against the base of the wall and your legs are extended up the wall. You may want to have a pillow for under your head just for comfort. I’ll typically set a timer and stay here for 10 minutes.

Legs up the Wall 2

When coming down from the pose roll over to one side and take a moment or two on your side before you sit up so that you don’t get lightheaded after being inverted for so long!

This is a great pose to do when you’ve been on your feet a lot or even if you’re legs are just feeling tired and heavy. It will refresh your legs and feet by getting the lymph and other fluids that cause swelling to flow in the opposite direction, increasing blood circulation and it will gently stretch the backs of your legs. After a long run is an especially good time to do this pose since it will help to drain the lactic acid from your legs and decrease soreness!

Legs up the Wall

Jenn and I practicing some yoga (and napping!) at 4am after the WIne & Dine Half Marathon! (photo by Daniel Wanderman)

This pose is also very calming and is a great time for a few minutes of quiet reflection or meditation – and for all you migraine and headache sufferers, it’s been known to help alleviate headaches!

Legs Up the Wall is a simple pose that anyone can do anywhere, but the benefits are amazing and well worth the few minutes of your time!

This post was originally written for and appeared on Running at Disney.  Be sure to stop by and check out my most recent Yoga for Runners guest post, “Happy Hips”!

Is there anything “Yoga for Runners’ related you’d like to read about?

Any specific muscle or area you’d like a post focused on?

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19 thoughts on “Yoga for Runners: Legs Up the Wall

  1. I need to do this today when the humidity is SO bad that my legs were tired just standing waiting for the bus! I may die in CrossFit and/or running today.

  2. This is something I need to do more of. Sadly, I’ve gotten wrapped up in PT and I’ve neglected other things, like upper body strength and taking care of my legs and feet.

    • I’m the same way, I sort of get pulled towards one thing or another and neglect something else…I really need to work on balancing my time/ workouts better!

  3. Nice. I was just thinking about your earlier post on this and how I need to do it.
    Only other thing I’d like more info on is half pigeon. I’ve done it hundreds of times, but I’m not sure my form is spot on. I love all pigeon poses – my outer hips get so tight from running.

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