Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Getting a Leg Up

Marsi has convinced me it's time to think very seriously about starting yoga.
Once again, here's Marsi. Merci cherie.

Welcome to the fourth and final installment on All Things Drainage. I promised three weeks ago that we'd go from head to toe -- and at last, here we are.

I must confess, today's discussion is my favorite. Why? Well, it's the most soothing, the most indulgent, and requires the least effort. It's all about the legs.

Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose

Making gravity work for, rather than against, you.
I love, love, love this maneuver and do it on the daily during the summer, when the heat outdoors sends all of my fluids to my legs and feet. This is a restorative yoga posture called Vitaripa Kirani, or legs-up-the-wall pose.

Although the photo above depicts using a bolster for the lumbar spine and resting the legs perpendicular to the floor, I rarely do it this way. I just lie on my bed with my legs at 70-ish degrees (often with a soft bend in my knees to keep me from hyperextending the joint), and I don't typically use a bolster unless that particular evening my lower back needs it. When I take a restorative yoga class though, we go all out with blankets and bolsters for support, and it really feels delicious. If you'd like to try it, Yoga Journal has complete instructions here.

My secret for the ultimate drainage treat is to apply cotton pads soaked with chilled eau de bleuet to my closed eyes, slick my legs with revitalizing gel (see below), and lie back with my legs up the wall for 20 minutes. Sheer, utter bliss.

Topical Leg Tonic

Butcher's broom, an essential ingredient
for leg drainage and revitalization.
Though legs-up-the-wall pose is often enough to release the fluids in your legs and feet, it's also nice to do a soothing herbal treatment at the same time. Butcher's broom seems to be the most important extract to look for, because it stimulates blood flow and decreases fluid retention. Arnica is another; it's a vasodilator and is marvelous for healing bruises and other skin wounds. Then there are menthol and camphor, both of which feel extremely cooling on the skin. You can practically feel the fluids draining away as soon as you apply menthol or camphor to your legs and feet.

I'm currently using Coronet Great Legs Revitalizing Gel and like it quite a bit. The menthol gel is so cooling that I usually feel a bit chilly during maneuvers and keep a scarf handy to wrap up. But when my Coronet runs out, I'm tempted to try Melvita Relaxing Leg Gel. Melvita is a French skincare company specializing in organic botanical ingredients. Their products (including eau de bleuet) are lovely.

Drain, baby, drain.
You saw this coming, didn't you? Of course you did.

* * *

I'll be back next week with my latest finding on ... whatever. Till then, ladies, drain on!


Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

This was so helpful...often in our really hot summers I feel like my legs are heavy and bloated...I am going to begin to do this often! Thanks!

Linda C. said...

I so love your blog!
Learn so many interesting things, and not only that, you're like the well-travelled, well-connected, generous & lovely friend that we wish we all had in our lives.
thank you.

Duchesse said...

I've been devoted to yoga for decades. The one thing I notice is that new practitioners come in with a competitive mind-set: "I want to be able to get to this pose", or "I want to be as good as that person." If we let go of that, yoga's gifts are far more accessible. Anyone will reap immediate benefits regardless of level or physical limitations.

Young at Heart said...

yoga is the best for so much and I love doing legs-up-the-wall.....my top tip is body brushing....am addicted!!

déjà pseu said...

That *does* look relaxing. Will have to give it a try!

Katherine said...

I recently saw a program that featured a woman who at 92 is a yoga teacher. Hmmm, that pretty much sold me on the idea that I NEED to take yoga.
Thanks for this great tip today.

Jean S said...

Legs up the wall IS the best!

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

I go to the Yoga studio once a week and try to practice at home.
I would love it if my cat Pepper would join me!
Legs up the wall is so relaxing!
Love that cat:-)

Joni said...

Can't wait to try the legs-up-the-way thing. And just like Young At Heart, I am also addicted to body brushing. I so look forward to it every morning before I hop in the shower.

BigLittleWolf said...

I would love love love to try yoga. But what do you do if you have chronic pain from injuries that you're afraid to aggravate? Try yoga for a group that's 20 years older?

(It's a serious question; I'm not being facetious.)

Jewel Yet to Find said...

As for the eyes I like to apply just two round cucumber or root parsley pieces. Natural and make wonders to puffiness and dark circles. Very simple and effective.

Worthington said...

Yoga is wonderful - you might like the Blissology Project DVDs -they are what I use and I love them!

Marsi said...

Wolf, see one of my previous posts, in which I answered your question about yoga. Anyone can do yoga; one of my instructors even teaches a class for people with paralysis and/or in wheelchairs. It's just a matter of finding the right branch of yoga for your needs.


helen tilston said...

Hello Marsi

I loved this informative post.

I love the leg against the wall exercise. When I do this exercise before bedtime, I have been known to fall asleep on the floor only to wake up a few hours later cold and chilled. Hee Hee

I have been off my computer and look forward to catching up on blogs.

Helen xx

Lilly Forever! said...

Thank you so much! You offer the BEST advice!

Carol said...

Marsi, l had completely forgotten about the revitalising legs up the wall pose. We used to do it as part of a cool down after belly dance

Thank you for the reminder..

Terri said...

I've also read somewhere that this pose is good for those who have trouble with insomnia.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I've been drinking the dandelion tea!
Love, love, love.

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