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It's Legs Against the Wall

  

Fit in a Year - Week 28

  

By: Ann-Marie Giglio
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

  

Here's a great stretch for everyone.  It's known by a few names--Leg Drains is one.  In Yoga, it's called Viparita Karani--a restorative inversion.  But not on your head!

 

I call it Legs Against the Wall.

 

Here's how you get into it:  find a wall and hard floor.  Don't do this on the bed!  Put down a mat, if you like, perpendicular to the wall.  Lie down on your side, and by hugging both your knees into your chest, get your butt as close to the wall as possible.  With the bottoms of your feet facing the wall, roll onto your back.  Then extend your legs upward, against the wall.  You are looking to be as butt-close to the wall as possible.  If you land with a distance between the wall and your butt, scrunch closer until you touch.  Extend your legs fully, against the wall.  You can bring your arms to your sides, or stretch them behind you (close to your head) on the floor, palms up.

Now, if your back hurts, come down.  Get a soft pillow or a folded blanket and place it beneath your butt and try again.  That new angle should take away the strain. 

You're going to stay in this position for at least 5 minutes.  Ten is better.  Close your eyes.  Flex your feet a bit if you like, and feel a stretch in your calves, Achilles tendon, maybe your hamstrings.

Why do you do this?  To reverse blood-flow in your legs, first of all.  This feeds those capillaries that have been cheated all day in your vertical position.  Maybe you went for a long walk today, or a run.  It also drains any lactic acid built up during the day. 

When you reverse this blood flow, it also pools blood in your abdomen.  This refreshes the organs in your reproductive and digestive systems.  (Note, if you are menstruating, use the pillow or blanket to elevate your hips.)
 
You are also stretching your hamstrings without any joint action or gravity.  Do this pose often, and your hamstrings will let go of your lower back!

Take the opportunity here to meditate and you will increase your benefits ten-fold.  Empty your mind and listen to your breath as you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.  Enjoy the sensation of your moving ribs.  Imagine your lungs inflating and deflating.  Feel the relaxation flood your body. 

When you're done, bring your knees to your chest, roll to your side, push yourself up, and you're ready to go!

Let me know your results!

 

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