Monday, June 8, 2009

Legs up the Wall ~ Option 2

Enjoy Legs up the Wall with a small supported back bend / lumbar spine opener.

Legs up the wall pose with a bolster under the low back is a great pose to do if you want to stretch your hamstrings and get a supported back bend. You still don't need much in the way of props. All you need is a wall and a towel, blanket, or a rolled up mat to put under you (prepare your bolster before you lay down).

Getting into the pose:
We start off the same as Legs up the Wall. Sit down on the floor with one hip pressed right up against the wall. As you start to lay back, you must also swing your body around so your bottom is towards the wall. When you are turned tail to the wall, start to extend your legs up the wall.

Adding the back bend / lumbar support:
Bend your knees and put the soles of your feet on the wall. Push into the wall to lift your hips up off the floor. Slide your bolster (towel, mat, blanket, whatever) underneath you, placing it just above the sacrum. Let your weight settle back down so your low back is resting on the bolster and your hips and tailbone are settling into the space between the bolster and the wall.

Settling into the pose:
If you cannot straighten your legs or if your tail is still curling up, you are either too close to the wall or your bolster is too close to the wall. Try adjusting your bolster by bringing it closer to your bottom ribs. Re-settle your hips and see if you can straighten your legs.

If you still can't straighten your legs it's time to push yourself back from the wall a little. Bend your knees and put the soles of your feet on the wall. Push your body away from the wall. Lift your hips and re-adjust your bolster so your lumbar spine can settle around it. Now your legs won't be straight up, they will be at an angle to the wall, but that's ok. Let yourself soften here. Watch your breath. Let the belly rise and fall naturally with the breath. Try to let your leg bones settle down into the hip sockets. Allow an opening in the lumbar spine.

If you have any discomfort in the low back, hips, or pelvis you may need to use a smaller bolster, adjust your distance to the wall, or come off the bolster entirely. Listen to your body and experiement. When you are comfortable, let the arms rest out to the sides, palms up and stay here for as long as you are enjoying the pose.

Getting out of the pose:
Bend your knees, press your soles into the wall to lift your hips up, slide the bolster out from under you, then settle yourself back down to the floor. When you are ready, brings the knees towards the body, roll to one side, take a few breaths, then gently push yourself back up to a seated position.