Based on today’s class discussion about the extreme academic stress that all of us Terp bloggers face at this time in the semester, and based on a great suggestion from Katie about how to use yoga to cope with the 20-page papers and group projects plaguing us at the moment, I decided to dedicate this installment of Touch Your Toes Friday to CHILLING OUT and RESTORING OUR BODIES.
After a long week of classes, commitments, and general crap, let’s relax and rejeuvinate by taking a position with quite a literal name: Legs-Up-Against-the-Wall Pose. Basically, Wall Pose asks us to find a wall cleared of picture frames, posters, and senior-semester bucket lists (yes, my roommates and I adorned a bit of our wall space with a pre-graduation “to do” list), lie down close to the wall, and extend our legs up against it. Ahhh, doesn’t this position feel great?
From Yoga Journal:
To ease any discomfort we might feel in our lower backs, we can place some kind of support under our backs. Thickly folded blankets, long pillows, and yoga mats serve as effective means of support. Because we all clock in at different heights and ranges of motion, we have to experiment with the height of our support and its distance from the wall. If we’re feeling extra flexible one day, we can increase the height of our support and move it closer to the wall. If our bodies are a bit stiff, we just do the opposite. We can play around with this and experiment with our bodies in every yoga pose we take.
Not only does Wall Pose engage our legs and backs, but it activates the upper half of our bodies, as well. How do our arms factor into this pose? While our legs and lower half of our body are against and/or reaching towards the wall, we can spread our arms out straight on either side of us, opening our palms. We can also bend our elbows so our palms are near our ears. We can also gently stretch our necks in this pose by slowly rocking our necks from side to side.
Wall Pose adapts to all of our stress levels because we can hold it for however long we need (3-5 mins. for you yoga skeptics) until we feel less tension in our muscles and less anxiety and senioritis ravaging our thoughts and emotions. Plus, we can take a nap and/or listen to inspiring music while taking this position-imperative activities for us college kids striving to balance our increasingly adult-like responsibilities with, for many of us, our financial dependence on our parents.
This pose is about surrendering for a few moments to our bodies. We need to dedicate a few minutes to this pose if we really want to chill out and restore our minds and bodies to top-knotch condition.
If we ignore the seemingly benign tension in areas such as our backs, legs, and necks, then we risk serious physical and mental stress that hinders our ability to rock our busy schedules, get A’s, grab our diplomas, and finally finally finally taste the sweet freedom from undergraduate education (though I’m grateful for my experience here at UMD).