To overcome physical and mental stress, the ancient yogis created “Viparita Karani ” meaning opposite of action, or no action or being relaxed. This is an “L” shaped asana where the body is almost reversed providing an effective “inverted action” which releases strain and boosts relaxation.
By ‘not doing any action,’ the body is rested, the venous return from the lower extremities is smooth, there is no stagnation of blood in the veins and the heart is relaxed. The hips that connect the upper and lower body is rejuvenated. The pelvic and the abdominal organs are renewed and energized.
We all need to relax our body and mind after a strenuous day. When the body is exhausted, restorative asanas such as supported forward bends are difficult to perform; but this simple asana can be easily performed by everyone, as it requires no physical effort.
Viparita Karani is a classic preparation for Sarvangasana and many other asanas.
Cautions: Do not practice this asana after a surgery, when you have uncontrolled high BP, retinal problems, headache and during menstruation.
1. Relieves muscle fatigue and soothes frazzled nerves
2. Relieves leg pain, swelling in the legs and varicose veins
3. Refreshes the brain, removes toxins and balances the hormones
4. Enhances circulation, breathing capacity and boosts energy
Lie down on the floor parallel to the wall. Slowly move your head away from the wall, sticking your buttocks close to the wall. Bend your legs and take them up on the wall perpendicular to the floor.
Adjust and align your body in an “L” position, with your hips close to the wall and the back of your legs rested properly on the wall. Place your hands to the sides of your body with palms turned outwards. If you feel any strain in your neck, place a soft pillow under your head to support your neck.
If you have the strength and confidence, you can lift your hips and spine off the floor, as shown in figure (1). Stay in the position for 5 to 10 minutes with focused even and steady breathing.
Make sure that the place you practice is clean and not cluttered. For those who do not find Savasana (supine relaxation posture) comfortable can try this asana. Props such as blankets (under the spine) and eye pillows or pads (over the closed eyes) can be used to relax your eyes. You may play some soothing music to relax your mind.
Coming out of the asana
Bend your knees towards your chest, roll to a side and rest for a few breathings. Then, press your hands into the floor and gently sit up.
Note Senior citizens and pregnant women can conveniently practice this asana when they find Sarvangasana (shoulder stand posture) difficult. Since this asana improves circulation all over, refreshes the brain and other vital organs, it can be practiced by everyone irrespective of age or ability.