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Legs Up The Wall in a Yin Class

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Laura Hahn

Joined: 28 Mar 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Stanwood, WA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:05 am    Post subject: Legs Up The Wall in a Yin Class Reply with quote

I have several questions regarding this subject.
I was approached by a student of the Being Yoga studio, after the
Tuesday noon Yin class, in which I started the class with Legs Up the Wall for a 10 minute hold. This question came from a student, who practices Yin Yoga and Bikram Yoga regularly. This student comes to class early, and she got into the Legs Up the Wall before the class started, and was in the pose for about 15 minutes, (fyi: she did not practice Bikram before this class).
Her question to me after class, which is my first question to you....
1)"During Legs Up the Wall the bottom of my feet felt very hot, like a burning sensaton, not to the touch, thou......why would this be happening?"
2)I learned of doing Legs Up the Wall from one of my favorite Yin classes I attend as a student, and now that I am an instructor I use it in my classes, thou, it is not in the "list" of Yin asanas, my question to you is "What do you think about Legs Up the Wall in a Yin Class?
3) How long would you hold "Legs Up the Wall" as a Yin class pose?

Thank you for taking the time to read my questions!
I am thankful and grateful to have this soucre to turn to.

Most Sincerely,
Laura Jean Hahn
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Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1117
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:12 am    Post subject: Legs up! Reply with quote

I love using the wall during a yin class: in fact there is an article in the Newsletters that describe a Wall Yin Practice. You may want to read it.

Some cautions can be offered, however. When we invert the body for a long period of time it is natural to expect some drainage of blood from the legs and feet. If you stay too long the feet may well "fall asleep" which can lead to many related symptoms caused by a lack of blood flow. Pins & needles, tingling, heat, cold, or many other sensations indicate that it is time to come out. Ideally, we'd would come out before those sensations even start but to know that requires some advanced practice in paying attention.

Another possible cause for your student's sensation is pressure on the sciatic nerve. With the body flexed at a 90 degree angle there may well be some pressure or compression on the sciatic nerve as it threads its way along the lower spine and through the hips. You may want to have the student back a little bit away from the wall or support her pelvis on some blankets or a bolster and see if that helps.

Everybody is different so there is no one "right" answer to how long should one's legs be up the wall. In the flow cited above you will see that we vary the postures so that the legs are not continuously up the wall all the time. For a rough rule of thumb 5 ~ 10 mins is a good upper limit but you can do this in phases: Wall Butterfly first, then legs straight, then Wall Squat, then legs straight again if you like.

In his Yoga: the Path to Holistic Healing Mr Iyengar suggests a student hold viparita karani for 3~4 minutes to start and work up to 8 minutes. Yoga Journal suggests between 5 ~ 15 minutes. To me, it depends upon the student and what she is feeling: she should judge when enough is enough.

I hope this helps.
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