The Bedtime Leg Stretch That Actually Reduces Stress
Wellness enthusiasts are well aware of the relaxing effects of stretching, but one of the most beneficial stretches may actually be more passive than you realize. Rather than sitting down to bend and breathe, all you have to do is lay on your back.
Putting your legs up the wall is more than a way to relieve tension in your legs. The legs-up-the-wall pose is known in Sanskrit as Viparita Karani — meaning “inverted in action,” Yoga Journal explains. By inverting your body in this way, your stomach, legs, chest, and nervous system can reap the benefits. The legs-up-the-wall pose helps drain the lymph from the legs, promoting a reduction in swelling in the knees, ankles, and feet, the outlet notes. Furthermore, inverting your legs in this way helps relieve any fluid buildup in your pelvic organs, thus aiding in digestion, per Cosmopolitan. With a refreshed reproductive system and revived legs, the legs-up-the-wall does so much while you’re simply having a moment to yourself.
Since it alleviates stomach and pelvis discomfort, the legs-up-the-wall is the perfect addition to your PMS routine, according to Yoga Journal. Helping circulate the blood and detoxify the lower body, this stretch may be an easy antidote to menstrual cramps. Furthermore, the aid in circulation you get from this position may be the headache remedy you’ve been looking for.
Putting your legs up the wall before bed can give you a great night's sleep
In addition to offsetting menstrual cramps and headaches, the legs-up-the-wall pose calms the central nervous system, making it a perfect bridge from the rigors of your day into dreamland. With your legs raised and higher than your heart, gravity aids in circulation of your blood, bringing on a more relaxed feeling in your mind and body, Mindbodygreen explains.
Giving you a moment to pause and breathe, the legs-up-the-wall pose offers a passive way to stimulate blood flow, detox, and relax, according to Poosh. By bringing more oxygenated blood-flow toward your upper body, the pose allows for a rebalancing effect that offsets stress, jetlag, and fatigue, Yoga Journal asserts. Plus, if you’re suffering from lower back pain, this stretch can offset the pressure you may be feeling.
Mindbodygreen recommends placing your legs up the wall for at least five minutes, noting you can rest them in this position for up to 20 minutes comfortably. You can do this on your bed or on the floor, using a folded blanket or pillow underneath your sacrum for support. Breathe deeply and just enjoy the relief your lower body is feeling. A passive but powerful pose, legs-up-the-wall gives your entire system the rejuvenation it needs as it calms your mind — no melatonin needed.
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