Practice Point: Legs-on-a-Chair Pose

Inverted poses or inversions are a wonderful way to turn everything upside down, calm the mind and provide a different view of the world. However, to hold the body upside down can require strength and flexibility that many of us don’t have. Legs-on-a-Chair is a supported inversion that I include in my classes, mainly because there is little wall space in the venues where I teach.

Legs-on-a-Chair Pose

Legs-on-a-Chair Pose

 

Before you begin ...

This pose is not recommendeded if:

  • You have unmedicated high blood pressure, serious heart condition, serious back or neck problems, or eye conditions like glaucoma where you don't want pressure in the head
  • You are pregnant and in your second or third trimester
  • You are uncomfortable lying on your back

Be cautious if you are feeling blocked up because of a cold, sinus problems or some other condition because an inversion can exacerbate that blocked up feeling and be uncomfortable.

As this pose is an inversion, some teachers say that this pose should be avoided during menstruation because it disrupts the body's natural downward flow. Some teachers define inversions as having the heart above the head so performing Legs-on-the-Chair with the back flat on the floor would be fine. My philosophy is to do what feels right for you. Everyone's experience is different so try the pose and see how it feels for you.
See Is It Safe to Practice Inversions During Menstruation? (Leah Sugerman, “Yoga International”)

The practice

The basic version of this pose requires only a chair with a seat low enough for you to rest your calves on it when you're lying flat on the floor.

The seat of our sofa is the perfect height for me!

The seat of our sofa is the perfect height for me!

  1. Ensure the chair is stable and won't move when you place your legs on it.
  2. Lie in front of the chair and place your calves on the seat of the chair.
  3. Let your hands rest by your side and rotate the palms and the insides of the elbows to the ceiling to open through the chest.
  4. Draw the chin towards the chest to lengthen through the neck. If needed, use a cushion or towel to support your head.
Notes
  • If the seat is a little high, try placing a folded blanket or block under your sacrum to lift your hips. Alternatively, move away from the chair, straighten your legs and place your feet on the edge of the seat.
  • For comfort:
    • Place a towel or blanket on the chair seat for padding.
    • Place the calves on the seat of the chair but have the knees off the edge of the seat.
    • Position your body so that the thighs are at about a 45° angle to the body.

Benefits

  • Relieves tired or cramped legs and feet
  • Improves circulation and boost immunity
  • Calms the nervous system
  • Calms the mind
  • Improves mental function including concentration, memory and processing abilities