Practice "Legs Up the Wall" To De-stress and Feel Your Best

The practice of Yin Yoga is the perfect antidote to the busy, stressful world that we live in.  Constant exposure to stress can contribute to sleep disturbances, physical dis-ease, anxiety and depression.  Yin yoga offers us a break from the hectic outside world and allows us the opportunity to go within and deeply relax.  It has proven effective in balancing out the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and sympathetic nervous system (rest & relax).  

One of the yoga postures that is most useful is legs up the wall pose.  This gentle inversion is the perfect way to counter sitting or standing for the majority of our day, which may cause swelling of the legs and ankles.  It is beneficial to your lymph system, helps to increase circulation, and can help to counter high blood pressure.  I find this posture to be deeply relaxing, and have read that 20 minutes with your legs up the wall can be as restorative as 8 hours of sleep. This pose can be practiced with or without the use of props, and can be modified for individuals that have difficulty with even the gentlest of inversions. 

To begin, place the wide side of bolster 6 to 8 inches from the wall, and place a folded blanket on the floor to cushion your spine.  Sit on the bolster with one hip and shoulder facing the wall.  Roll back as you swing your legs up the wall. Bend your knees and gently push your feet against the wall, lifting your hips slightly to adjust the bolster to a comfortable spot at your low back. When you feel properly positioned, straighten your legs.  Cover your eyes, relax, and breathe deep.  When I am working with a person that is elderly, pregnant, or has back issues, I offer a modified version of this pose, where you bend your knees and rest the back of your calves on a chair. I do not recommend this pose if people have sinus issues because it can aggravate congestion.  

Q & A with Kitty Adams

Kitty has been a part of our Harmony Yoga Family for 19 years.  Whether she is teaching or enjoying a yoga class, she always brings an incredible aura of warmth, kindness and compassion to the studio. Learn a little more about Kitty below, and be sure to say hi the next time you see her in the studio!

Q: Tell us more about your yoga practice, and how it’s evolved over time:

A: I started practicing yoga when my twins were babies. I was stressed out, not sleeping well, and in desperate need of self-care. I immediately noticed a difference and have been practicing for almost 20 years. My yoga has evolved from a powerful physical practice to a much more spiritual experience. 

Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

A: My top priority is being a good mom, remaining present and available for my 3 daughters.  In addition to teaching yoga, I also started a non-profit organization in 2011 called Adopt a Charger, which installs electric vehicle chargers at National Parks, State Parks, museums, and universities.  My goal is to raise awareness and increase adoption of electric vehicles to help avoid the worst effects of climate change.  I’m always happy to answer questions about the best EV for you!!

Q: What or who inspires you?

A: I am most inspired by two of our own Harmony Yoga instructors, Najla Coury Barile and Simone Market. I have been lucky to know these amazing women for close to 20 years and truly value the connection.  They are both great examples of how to use yoga to find more balance in your life.  

Q: How do you incorporate your practice off of the mat? 

A: I practice a non-harming lifestyle, and try to leave every place or situation better than I found it.

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