The last few weeks of my own pregnancy have not been the easiest. Nothing is quite as straightforward as the first time around, I’m tired and I’ve got a nasty cold. Some nights I just want to collapse on the sofa as soon as I have put my daughter to bed and the idea of rolling out my mat is pretty unappealing. However, I ALWAYS feel better after I do. And I can honestly say that in the last ten years of practicing yoga, this has always been the case. Every single practice, every single class – fast, slow, dynamic, whatever – they have all made me feel better. This is a pretty incredible claim but I’d imagine that most yogis will be able to relate.
I always tell my own students that practice is about quality as well as quantity. Not everyone has the time or inclination to practice for an hour a day. The key thing is to use whatever amount of time you do have to give your body and mind what it needs in that particular moment. And when what I need is support, release, a moment of peace in this crazy world, I turn to legs up the wall.
Oh legs up the wall, you are the mama bear hug of yoga poses. How I love you.
So how do you do it:
Find a nice clear (picture frame free!) bit of wall, sit down with legs parallel to the wall and left side body touching the wall, then scootch the bottom in nice and close. Then lie down on your back and pivot the legs up so that they can rest up the wall, fully supported. If you are pregnant, you’ll need to have the feet a little wider. You may also want to place a bolster under the lower back to give the hips some extra height and to keep the back slightly elevated. If you do this, make sure the tailbone is just over the edge of the bolster so it isn’t tucked under and so there is length in the lower back. The hands can rest on the belly or to the side – whatever feels good. Stay here for 5-15 mins.
Why do you do it:
Legs up the wall can offer relief from lower back ache and can ease tired legs and feet.
When you are pregnant it can be especially beneficial as this pose also helps to clear the mind and relieve anxiety and stress.
When not to do it:
Don’t do it after week 36 in pregnancy as this is when the baby is getting into the right position for birth and you don’t want to do anything to encourage him otherwise! After week 20, be aware of staying here for too long as it may compress the vena cava. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, come out of the pose.