TTC: If you only have time to do one yoga pose in your day – try Viparita Karani (legs-up-the-wall pose). It’s the queen of fertility yoga poses, and anyone can practice it (partner’s too).
The real power of this pose, and why for me it’s the ultimate letting-go pose, is because it clearly demonstrates that less is more. You don’t have to fling yourself about or do extreme postures to gain benefits. In fact the opposite is true. Letting go, being still and receptive, is much more potent.
In my classes I constantly remind my students to slow down, to not push themselves into or out of any pose; a message that is a counterpoint to what we normally hear. I encourage them to “take their time”, to notice when they want to rush.
Many of us naturally want to ‘do more’, ‘go harder’, ‘drive it through’. If you recognise that you have these tendencies too, see if you can catch it when you start to push, and consciously relax and breathe out instead.
Benefits to Legs-up-the-wall pose
There are so many benefits to inverting your body and putting your legs up a wall. Here are my top 4 reasons to do the pose:
- This is an excellent detoxifying pose. It allows lymph, an infection-fighting fluid carrying white blood cells, to flow with gravity, helping with healing and revitalising your whole system. Because lymph and other fluids flow downwards in this pose, it assists to relieve congestion in your pelvis and supports your reproductive organs.
- If you’re feeling stressed, this gentle inversion brings fresh blood to your brain, quieting your mind and slowing down thoughts.
- Your stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) get a chance to switch off.
- Your body temperature cools and your heart starts to beat a little slower.
When it’s not safe to practice the pose
The only time I don’t recommend you practicing Legs-up-the-wall pose is:
- after embryo transfer, (for those doing IVF)
- after insemination (for those doing IUI)
- once you’ve had your trigger injection (for those using Clomid)
- if you have your period do not practice this pose
Once you have had your embryo transfer, your trigger injection or you’ve been inseminated I treat you as if you’re pregnant. I don’t recommend practicing any yoga poses (not even restorative poses) till the end of your first trimester. Just practice your breathing techniques.
If you have tight hamstrings – move further away from the wall so your legs are bent. If they are really tight you can support your calves on the seat of a chair or sofa. (The great news about this is that you still get exactly the same benefits as you do with your legs straight and your gluts touching the wall!)
When you’re comfortable, close your eyes and place your hands on your belly. Breathe into your hands and feel the gentle rise and fall of your belly. Try and keep your chest still so it’s just your belly that is moving. Breathe in for 2 counts and out for 4 counts – do this 10 times. Go slowly. No need to rush. Then come out slowly and roll up to sitting. Notice how you feel.
As you get more comfortable with staying in the pose, increase the time to 5 minutes, then 10, 15 and up to 20 minutes. The longer you stay the greater the benefits. Enjoy!