One of my favorite restorative poses is Viparita Kanari or ’legs up the wall pose’. It relieves tired or cramped legs and feet and gently stretches the hamstrings, front torso, and the back of the neck. It’s also good for relieving mild backache and it calms the mind.
My restorative yoga teacher Bo Forbes claims that ‘legs up the wall’ can cure insomnia. I haven’t tried it myself (I have no trouble in that department), but if you have trouble going to sleep you can try it out to see if it’ll make you sleepy.
Old Hindu scriptures claim that Viparita Karani hides wrinkles in addition to banishing old age and death. I don’t know how much truth to put in that but the restorative nature of this posture gets blood flowing to parts of the body that need it, making it good for almost any ailment including arthritis, high or low blood pressure, respiratory ailments, and menopause.
If you’d like to make the position more inverted you can put a folded blanket or a bolster under your hips (unless you’re on your moon cycle (that’s yoga lingo for menstruating)).
Stay in the pose for 5 to 15 minutes. If your neck feels strained, you can place a rolled-up towel or blanket in the nape. If you start to experience pins and needles in your feet or any other discomfort just bend your legs and pull your knees to your chest. To get out of the pose gently roll down without twisting the spine.