From the Table is a series of conversational articles which have been birthed from the weeks treatments with Jacquie McIntyre- showcasing some interesting concepts and issues that people face in their journey to body and mind health and deep happiness. (all names have been changed)
A few weeks ago I found a nice article on the internet that talked about the benefits of putting your legs up the wall. I shared it onto my Facebook page because I know personally the benefits of doing this myself are enormous, I love it.
And if you read my last week's edition of From The Table (Re-assessing my relationships...just one in particular, and some practical tools so you can too), you will know that Facebook deleted it *gasp*. In deciding what I wanted to do about it, I decided to give an Aussie thumbs up to Facebook and write my own!
Thanks for spurring me on to dedicate my own experience to this week's edition.
OK...So my sister Cate is a long time advocate of the teachings and philosophy of yoga. One of the many postures that Cate has shared with me over the years is this one of putting your legs up the wall.
Personally I started doing this technique because she told me that it would help with back pain.
Incentive enough for me, because I had been having bouts of severe back pain since the age of fourteen. I know many of you can resonate with, It’s one of the top things clients often have on their health intake forms when they start BodyTalk sessions with me.
(Obviously this is me! in my perfectly styled living room with my new favorite jeans, with a carefully timed photo taken just yesterday)
Sometimes within the body, things are not put together very well to being with...When you add lots of sports, horse riding, pregnancies, miscarriages, childbirth, operations etc, it has definitely been one of my areas of body that has needed extra care and attention over the years. It’s not a straight forward structural and muscular issue it runs much deeper than that, and that’s a great story for another edition of From the Table.
I find that generally with everyone, they have a soft spot or part of the body that is less resilient than the rest of the body. What’s your’s?
For some of my clients it’s their Lymphatic systems, gut health, leg swelling, thyroid imbalances, headaches, issues with bones... Whatever it is, even though it is a ‘less resilient’ spot for you, it can get an enormous amount of benefit when you give it exactly what it needs to repair!
I have had a lot of success in reducing or eliminating the back pain with modalities like BodyTalk, massage, acupuncture and bowen therapy (prior to my BodyTalk days), however when I combined a BodyTalk session with this ‘Legs up the Wall’ technique* I find a lot of relief.
Super important part...
A person can have an aversion to doing a thing that seems 'simple' and makes them feel good easily. It can be such a foreign concept, it brings up all kinds of crappy beliefs like, “your lazy”, “it’s not that simple”, “if only it were as easy as that”, “get off your bum”, “everything good take effort and hard work in life” (that's one we addressed in a session for a client just the other day).
Sometimes you will be consciously aware that you have these feelings when you do something that seems too easy and simple. And other times is very much an unconscious process that happens where you won't be aware of it….but now we have talked about it, chances are you will see it and that’s great! Once I've identified something like that, I will actually say out loud to it, there is no space for you here now, out ya go. And I reframe my relationship with whatever it is that I'm doing. Try it, it's brilliant.
I say this because this is pretty easy...and it's going to feel good...and because of that you may notice some resistance.
(My sister Cate doing a fab demo for us)
I often call it a technique because I have BodyTalk so ingrained in my cells that nearly everything I do in my mind is considered a technique of sorts, it's my language, but to Yogis they know this to be either Lake Pose or Legs Up the Wall pose. There are a few variations I’ll walk you through. Always go with the one that feels comfortable and right for you.
Psst! Kids love this too, and it’s great for pregnancy.
What you might find...
It improves the overall harmony of the whole body mind complex. We know this because of the way that you feel during and after. We see improvements across the board to so many aspects of you...I had a client who had high blood pressure, she would do this pose and it would stabilise every time.
Much of the time you will experience deep relaxation- that means good chemicals are being made and released within your body...Win...win!
An improvement in your emotional wellbeing, not just while your in pose (because that will happen) but after you get up and greet the rest of your day.
Most people find it reduces anxiety & lifts depression symptoms.
Lessens discomfort and pain in the body, especially chronic pain.
The circulation of blood, lymph and oxygen improves within the whole body.
The drainage and cleansing of toxins, impurities and waste product is increased- this is brilliant for nearly everyone from that perspective!
Lots of people report improved sleep, not just the ability to get to sleep, but the ability to stay asleep.
A HUGE majority of the population’s nervous system is either permanently or semi permanently in Flight/ Fight/ Freeze response. You may have heard of it called being in the Sympathetic state, we really need to turn this around...it’s a much bigger deal than you realise. It has devastating effects on the immune system, adrenal function, hormone production just to rattle off a few. We want to get your nervous system to be prominently in Parasympathetic state- that’s the calm, chilled out, “Cat Stevens sing me a song” state.
Reduces swelling of the legs & inflammation.
It does a soft- gentle job of stretching the fascia, particularly affecting the muscles of the legs and lower back. Your hamstrings will love it. This will be great for those of you that are seated for long periods of time.
Relieves the pressure and swelling of swollen ankles and varicose veins.
Relieves discomfort and pain associated with menstrual cramps. (follow your instincts as to if this pose is right for you during period)
Improves circulation of reproductive system, thereby improving overall function.
This pose is touted to be one of the best for improving youthfulness/ anti ageing.
If you have serious neck or back issues, check in with your healthcare team before doing these, they will guide you if it’s OK to do. Because of the increased blood circulation it may not be suitable for women at times of menstruation (go with your intuition) or those with glaucoma.
The variations I'm sharing today all have added bonuses to them. Start with the first one if your new to the pose, and only increase as your intuition guides you. Go with your gut, there is only right for you, not what everyone else is doing!
Legs up the wall version
You can find room anywhere to do this, I’ve learnt to adapt, especially when travelling to teach courses and have to slip into a small space in a tiny motel room.
You will lie on your back with your sit-bones as close to the wall as is comfortable for you, and from there you extend your legs up the wall, so that the backs of your legs are resting fully against it, like I have done below.
Soles together version
In anyone of these poses I often will tap out my Cortices (remember the technique that balances the Brain?, it's a video series on my Youtube channel now.
Allow the soles of the feet to gently come together, whilst supporting your legs by putting your hands on the leg in front of the knee, your arms are braced by the floor or pillows. Fantastic for opening the pelvis.
Legs bent version
This is where the legs are resting at a 90' angle. You can use a warm towel of eye pillow to rest over the eyes, taking the relaxation to a deeper level. If you would like extra back/ spinal support, place a soft pillow under the hips and head. Enjoy, this one is Blissful!
(Thanks to my Dad for being a rockstar demo man!)
Variation and side points:
Lots of people ask me how long I do this for...it varies, sometimes 5/ 10 or 15 mins. It's what I intuitively need in that moment.
During this pose, as you get the hang of it, draw your attention to your breath more and more, I've outline below what you can do.
Use your breath to ground the heads of the thighs bones into the wall, which helps release your groins, belly, and spine. In the pose imagine that each inhalation is descending through your torso and pressing the heads of your thigh bones closer to the wall. Then with each exhale, pin your thighs to the wall and let your torso spill over the bolster away from the wall and onto the floor.
** Note the placement of bolster/ pillow under the hips below. Great for supporting the lower back and hips. Use this as you feel necessary.
I would love to see your version of Legs up the Wall. Thanks for joining me on this journey, I've been looking forward to doing this article for ages, and I'm glad you're here with me.
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Knowledge sharer, wisdom bringer, light shiner and fierce supporter of you and your animals journey. Through private treatment sessions, seminars and workshops based in integrated consciousness healthcare, getting you the powerful results you so deeply desire. Jacquie advocates for peoples potential, she shares her knowledge in all things healthcare, consciousness and business whilst inspiring people to be the most exceptional version of themselves that they can possibly be.
Consciousness based healthcare, where you and your animals are the Priority