Legs Up the Wall - Viparita Karani

How to Do Legs Up the Wall
Legs Up the Wall - Viparita Karani. PeopleImages/E+/Getty Images
  • Type of PoseRestorative, mild inversion
  • Benefits: Offers relief for tired legs, improves circulation.

When we talk about yoga inversions, most people think of poses like headstand, handstand, and shoulderstand. Those are all wonderful poses, but they are not possible or appropriate for everyone. Any pose where your head is below your heart gives you the benefits of an inversion, which include changing your body's relationship to gravity and improving circulation.

So downward facing dog is technically an inversion. So is legs-up-the-wall, particularly when you do it with a bolster or several folded blankets under your butt to increase the angle of inversion.

Legs-up-the-wall is a particularly great pose for people who are on their feet all day and for pregnant women, who tend to retain fluid in their legs. It's also the perfect alternative to more intense inversions (such as those listed above) for days when you are tired or if you want another option for when you have your period. A recent study showed that like other inversions, legs up the wall increases interocular pressure, so it should be avoided by people with glaucoma.


  1. Sit next to a wall with the side of your body on the wall and your knees bent into your chest. If you want to use a bolster, place the long side of it right against the wall and then sit on it. You can do the same thing with several folded blankets instead.
  1. Turn to face the wall by pivoting on your butt and bringing your legs up the wall. Your lower back will be on the floor. Keep your upper body supported by keeping your elbows on the floor at first.
  2. If you feel like you want your butt to be closer to the wall, press onto your elbows to lift your butt off the floor. Walk your heels further up the wall as you scoot your butt in closer.
  1. Slowly release the elbows and lower the whole back down to the floor.
  2. Your arms can rest anywhere what is comfortable: on the floor by your sides or on your belly are good options. 
  3. If you are comfortable, stay here several minutes.
  4. To come out, bring the knees into your chest and roll to your side.

Beginners'/Advanced Tips

You may try different positions with your legs.

  • Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet to touch (as in baddha konasana).
  • Take the legs wide apart.
  • Try lotus pose if it is part of your practice.