Yoga pose of the month: Beat stress and tension with Legs up the Wall Pose

Every time exhaustion hits and mood takes a nose dive, this simple pose is guaranteed to de-stress and calm your fried mind, while taking pressure off weary legs, tight hip joints, back and shoulder tension and a furrowed brow

Yoga pose of the month: Beat stress and tension with Legs up the Wall Pose

Source: Web exclusive: December 2010

For many of us, Christmas is one of the most exciting and fun times of the year. Our senses feast on sparkling lights around windows and trees; enticingly beautiful shop windows; frosty, bright mornings; crisp, cold evenings; cedar boughs; red ribbons; and tasty treats. However, getting through the season with all the extra shopping, social activities and’yes’lineups, checkouts and traffic jams may taint the Ho! Ho! Ho! Holiday Spirit, leaving us feeling tired and wired, and robbing even the calmest among us of seasonal good cheer.

If you want to look, feel and act your best as you maneuver your way through the endless December to-do lists, make sure you find time to experience the queen of all relaxing and restorative yoga poses, ‘Legs up the Wall.’

Top 6 benefits:

‘ Takes pressure off legs, knees and ankles
‘ Releases lower back compression
‘ Melts shoulder, upper back and neck tension
‘ Balances unevenness of mood
‘ Calms the nervous system

‘ De-stresses the mind and body, allowing you to rest and restore

Off-the-mat suggestions:

‘ When the turkey is in the oven
‘ When the house is quiet and kids have gone to bed
‘ When you arrive home from the office or shopping and feel weary
‘ Before family or guests arrive
‘ Whenever you feel tired and wired

Contraindications:

None

The steps:

1. Place a folded blanket or yoga mat on the floor, jutting out from the wall.
2. Sit sideways against the wall with knees bent (your hip bone should touch the wall).
3. Slowly lower your back and head onto the floor and swivel your buttocks around so they touch the wall (keep scooting forward until they do).
4. Lift and lean both legs up the wall and relax feet and ankles (wear socks for extra comfort and warmth).
5. Place rolled-up blanket, towel or cushion under head and/or neck for support, and cover torso with another blanket for extra coziness.
6. Let arms rest palms up or down about a foot away from body.
7. Cover eyes with eye pillow, soft scarf or small towel (or even your favourite cashmere sweater).
8. Breathe slowly and deeply and rest for 5 to 20 minutes. Ahh!

Work-life balance is one of the most challenging issues that we all have to face in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world (whatever the season). In order to keep up, most of us are in constant ‘doing’ mode and just don’t get enough down-time to rest and restore. We’re all pushed for time, which is why Kitchen Yoga makes so much sense. Remember, in the 2-5 minutes that it takes to make coffee, toast bread, simmer soup or boil your pasta water, just slip in a couple of poses. If you do this every day you will have practiced 30 to 45 minutes of healthy stretches that will allow you to move through your daily routine in a more balanced and vibrant way. So bring it on!

Kitchen Yoga is available at www.ruthshawyoga.com in both print and ebook editions. Practice Kitchen Yoga for 2-5 minutes a day and you will fit 30 or more extra minutes of yoga a week, without adding one more ‘to-do’ in your busy schedule.

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