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Yoga for relaxation: Learn to chill out with this yoga pose

 

Hong Kong is a city that asks its citizens to “work hard and play hard”. Melanie B, owner of Yoga BamBam, a boutique yoga studio on Pound Lane in Sheung Wan, shares one of her favourite yoga poses that anyone can do at home, or in a quiet corner of the office, at any time of day.

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Viparita Karani (“legs-up-against-the-wall pose”) 

Viparita means “inversion” and Karani means “in action”. This pose is a cure to over-demanding city life as it teaches us to do less and relax more. It’s a centering pose that helps us to rest, digest, recuperate and be ready to hit our busy lives in tip-top condition physically and mentally. Viparita Karani has all the benefits of an active inversion pose yet it is therapeutically restorative and therefore perfect to practice at home.

Method:

1. Get comfy: you will be in the pose for five to 15 minutes. Cover and support your body with blankets, and place a towel or eye-pillow over your eyes. If you’re feeling self-indulgent, add a dab of lavender to the blanket, or even place a piece of rich organic chocolate in your mouth.

2. Calm down: breathe through the nose on a pattern of four counts of deep inhalations to eight counts of soothing exhalations.

3. Surrender: the tension will melt away as the chocolate lovingly soothes the soul.

4. Relax: Listen to soft music, and enter into a state of meditation or simply enjoy the music.

Benefits:

1. It reverses the effects of gravity on the legs and the feet. Swollen ankles, varicose veins, tired leg muscles are all alleviated in this pose, and it also gives the heart a rest.

2. It’s great for athletes and “weekend warriors” as it helps to drain tension from the legs and keep the lower body flexible.

3. It has all the benefits of an inversion without the effort. It alleviates headaches and backache and actually is an energy booster that produces calm focus by letting gravity do all the work for us.

Variations:

1. If you’re stiff and you find it difficult to keep your legs straight, bend them.

2. If you want to stretch your inner thighs, open your legs as you rest them against the wall.

I love this grounding pose! I discovered it during my first pregnancy to help relieve my varicose veins. I also recommend Viparita Karani to business travellers; it’s a miraculous antidote against tight hamstrings, sore hips and lower backs, and stress. This nourishing pose works wonders on frazzled over-active minds and tired bodies. It’s a wonderful way to enter the world of meditation as it helps to bring clarity to the mind. As the heart rate slows down, the nervous system is appeased.

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For more info on group classes and private classes, visit yogabambam.com.

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