Stress is very much like an addiction – it’s a state we revert to when we’re faced with challenging and fast paced situations. Its hold can be almost impossible to shake off and after a certain point our body and mind become dependent on it. Like any drug long-term exposure to worry and anxiety can do significant damage to not just our mind and mood, it can also damage our digestive and immune system, heart, hair skin and ultimately affect our longevity. People who are addicted to stress find that their ability to life a fulfilling life is greatly inhibited – all because they just can’t stop worrying.
Worry and anxiety are specific by individual. While everyone experiences stress, how they perceive and react to a situation is entirely unique. What causes you stress may not affect another person, past experiences and perceptions will determine your level of stress for a given situation. The important thing to remember is that in each of these situations we have a choice of how to react: if we react with anxiety, cortisol and adrenaline are produced, continued feelings of worry and stress result in the overproduction of these hormones thus sending your body in a constant state of worry and alertness. If we react with confidence, we face the problem head on and what is originally a mole hill doesn’t become a mountain.
Of course the latter reaction isn’t always the response and for some it simply isn’t an option. That’s when you must make the conscious decision to break your addiction. In those situations it’s good to take a moment to adjust your thought process and give yourself time to release. Experts will suggest taking an entire Yoga class to find your moment of peace, but the solution to all your stress and anxiety can be found in this one Yoga posture. Viparita Karani, or Legs Up on the Wall pose, is a mild inversion that boasts a wide range of health benefits ranging from alleviating backache, banishing old age and even relieving anxiety. It is a restorative posture that encourages blood to flow to parts of the body that need it and its inverted positioning will allow you a different perspective.
Holding this posture for at least 10 minutes a day can give you the time and space you need to clear you mind and relax your body. It’s a simple posture that requires almost no effort and can be done just about anyway, that has a wall of course.
Put Your Legs Up Against the Wall!
- Sit parallel against the wall and slowly shift your weight back into your buttocks. Slowly, swing your legs up against the wall while simultaneously lowering your upper body on the floor. Your back should be completely pressed into the ground and your buttocks and legs should be rested against the wall.
- If you have tight hamstrings or are new to yoga, bend and cross your legs (as if you are sitting in a lotus pose) and rest them against the wall. Otherwise if you are comfortable, lengthen your legs and rest them against the wall.
- Lengthen your spine against the floor and elongate your neck. Rest your arms at your sides, or spread them out with palms facing up. Focus on your breath and hold this pose for about five to 10 minutes.
- To come out of the pose, slowly draw your knees into your chest and roll onto your side. Be sure to move slowly as your body readjusts the blood circulation in your body. HEALTH WARNING: If you have poor circulation or feel tingling in your legs/loss of feeling come out of this pose. Consult with your doctor on your circulation health and minimize the time in this pose to 2 to 3 minutes.
You can perform this posture one, two, three – or as many times as you’d like throughout the day!