A few weeks ago, I visited a good friend and body-worker. I first began visiting her office several years ago when a hamstring injury that just wouldn’t go away needed attention. We worked through that problem and now I see her regularly for maintenance and care.
During this recent session, we were talking about the bike ride I had just completed 150+ miles in two days(MS Cape Cod Getaway! I highly recommend doing an event for charity!) and her triathlon training.
I should mention, that my hamstring injury, while not running related (definitely Yoga, primary series related) affected my running. During training for my most recent marathon, which was a disaster (epic fail), my calve muscle began seizing after long runs. I would wake up in the morning unable to get my heel to the ground. I bought compression socks, I ate more electrolytes and bananas and greens. During the marathon, I tied my shoe laces WAY too tightly and coupled with the already angry lower leg, walking became unbearable.
So, back to the present. A few years later, I’m still working on figuring out how exactly to keep my legs happy after lots of forward folding and use running or in yoga. While exploring this simply fascinating topic, of course, I’ve learned other things about my left leg and namely my adductors. A chiropractor suggested that lymphatic fluid buildup in this area may trigger that party going on in my leg. So the body-worker whose table I was laying on as we were discussing cycling and training, suggested I do legs up the wall after running.
As it so happens, around Boston marathon time, my husband complained about a sore back and hamstring soreness and the FIRST thing I told him to do, was to put his legs up the wall. This man doesn’t stretch but I figured, even if he doesn’t stretch, he could listen to a baseball game with his legs up the wall doing nothing and do some good for his body.
So the one-trillion dollar question is -Do I put my legs up the wall after a run? I prescribe it! Friends talk about it! Mmmmm…So, why did it take me so long to practice what I preach?
During my MS bike ride where I rode 115 miles, I put my legs up the wall for a good 30 minutes and on the second day of cycling 75 miles, I had no problems. Day later? week later? no soreness.
So now as I write this post I’m lying on my back after 7 mile run with my legs up the wall. So why is this Viparita Karani or legs up the wall such a magical pose? As part of any first aid training, problem? RICE! Elevate and ice and so on. After pounding the pavement incessantly? Repetitive motion of hips, quads, calves, knees? It would make sense that to reinstate R&R we should elevate them. I’m no medical practitioner and I won’t suggest that when we go upside down into an inversion, our circulation goes upside down; At least I would hope not: I always want blood flowing to my heart, but it makes sense for other lymphatic fluids to move away from a raised area.
I often suggest legs up the wall for my prenatal students when they suffer from swelling feet or ankles. I suggest legs up the wall for students who were ever troubling trouble with adrenals. Legs of the wall seems like it’s your cure-all. Hooray! I fixed everything! It’s a pretty accessible pose. I did it camping, between rides and at home. The hardest part is nudging your butt against the wall to get your legs up in the first place. Besides that – piece of cake! Like I said before, you can listen to the baseball game read a book or record a blog entry. Easy Peezy! #PracticeWhatYouPreach #YogaEveryday