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Day 11: Viparita Karani

On the eleventh day of Christmas, yoga gave to me... a posture to help me cultivate surrender, rest and rejuvenation.

At the end of a long day, there is nothing quite like coming into this restorative pose and letting the tension and weight drain from the body. I LOVE this shape and am so please to share it with you here.

Viparita Karani has a wonderful rejuvenating and balancing effect on the whole body and can be performed in numerous ways... no wall space? Pop your legs over the sofa or bed!

As in baddha konasana which I shared the other day, this is great for also opening the chest, abdominal and heart space and has a cooling and relaxing effect on the legs and pelvic area.

This is a wonderful pose to do before bed as it helps to shift the nervous system towards a more parasympathetic state. Perfect after a long day!

*This posture should not be practised by anyone that has cervical spine/neck issues, glaucoma, high blood pressure or if you're pregnant*


  • Have your bolster and cushions close to hand then bring yourself to sit side-on as close to the wall as possible so your hip is as close to touching the wall as possible

  • Swing your hips around so that your legs go up the wall (it won’t be an elegant transition!)

  • With your feet flat on the wall, push into it to lift your hips and drag your bolster under the hips. You may need to shuffle about and have a few attempts before getting it right. You ideally want to have only a little space between your lower back and the wall, otherwise your lower back will feel vulnerable. If you are tight in the hamstrings, let your knees bend or take the sofa variation where you have your calves resting on the sofa or bed thus taking out any effort to hold the legs steady

  • I have a small pillow under my head so that my cervical spine feels supported and a cushion under my arms for support. The arm cushions are optional but recommended for extra comfort.

  • In this version the hips are elevated to create a mild inversion. If preferred, it can be practised without the bolster to minimise the inversion

  • As it takes a little bit of effort and practice to come into this posture, you want to make it worth the effort so stay for 10 minutes or longer if you are able.

  • To come out, draw your legs far enough down so as you can place your feet on to the wall. Press into the wall to elevate hips and remove the bolster (if you are using one). Lower your hips down and slowly take your legs down to the side so you are laying on your side. Using your hands, take your time to bring yourself to a seated pose.


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