Viparita Karani, also known as water fall pose, is a gentle inversion and restorative yoga pose.  The shape of the pose creates a waterfall, as gravity helps to cascade the fluid down from the legs it pools in the lagoon created by the shape of the belly. The fluid then spills over into the chest aiding the vascular system in returning the blood to the heart.

This asana (pose) reduces stress, quiets the mind, and refreshes the heart and lungs.  If you retain water or have swelling in the legs, varicose veins, or stand for long periods of time, this is the asana for you! Also, if you have mild hypertension and it is controlled with medication, this pose can help to lower blood pressure.

Place a folded blanket or bolster against the wall. Sit sideways on the edge of the blanket or bolster with one hip touching the wall.  Keep your hands on the floor as you bend your knees and take your legs up the wall.  If your buttocks are not touching the wall bring the soles of the feet to the wall, bend your elbows, press into the floor lift your bottom up and scoot your buttocks to the wall. Once there, turn your shoulders under so that the palms face up and the arms are out along the side of the body. Allow your awareness to be drawn inward to your breath.  Let the outside world drift away.  Remain in the pose for 5-15 minutes.   To come out bend the knee and roll to the right side, use the strength of your arms to help yourself back up.  Come into a seated position and take a moment to notice how you feel.

Enjoy! Namaste!

Cautions: This poses is not recommended for individuals with hiatal hernias, eye pressure, retinal problems, heart problems, neck problems, women who are menstruating, if it creates lower back pain, pressure in the head, after the third month of pregnancy or if at risk for miscarriage.

Art work from the Iyangar Institute of San Francisco