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Restless legs yoga: 8 Yoga Poses for Your Restless Legs

8 Yoga Poses for Your Restless Legs

Breathing and stretching isn’t just good for your brain – use yoga to tame your restless legs syndrome.

Medically Reviewed

The itching, tingling, and other unpleasant sensations of restless legs syndrome (RLS) can be stressful to deal with, and when you’re not sleeping, those stress levels skyrocket. Yoga to the rescue!

Research published in the journal “Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine” has found that regular yoga poses and stretches can help ease those restless legs syndrome symptoms and help you sleep better, feel less stressed, and even lower blood pressure. Try these yoga poses and breathing tips from a therapeutic yoga instructor to help you find restless legs syndrome relief.

Vipariti Karani: Legs Up the Wall Pose

“This is a wonderful posture for the evening and especially if you either sit or stand all day,” noted Jyoti Solanki, RMT, RYT, registered massage therapist and certified yoga instructor at the Serona Centre in Ontario, Canada. Lie on your back with your legs extended up against the wall at a 90-degree angle. Stay in the position for 5 to 20 minutes to ease restless legs syndrome. However, Solanki cautioned that if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, or if you have your period or are pregnant, you should not practice this pose.

Uttanasana: Standing Forward Fold

Standing with feet hip width apart, bend forward at the hips while keeping knees soft and lengthening the spine as you fold forward. “The idea of this pose is to stretch the back of the legs while letting the spine traction with gravity,” said Solanki. “This is a pose to be practiced any time of day or night.” Hold the stretch for about five to 10 breaths. Don’t hold the pose for longer than is comfortable, and be careful if you have problems with blood pressure.

Paschimottonasana: Seated Forward Fold

Sitting with feet extended straight in front of you, lengthen your spine and fold forward from the hips. Grasp your feet with your hands or wrap a belt around your feet and hold. “Bend and support knees with blankets as needed to allow the spine to be lengthened,” said Solanki. Focus on stretching up rather than forward if it feels tight, and engage your feet and legs to stabilize the lower body. Breathe calmly and deeply and hold for five to 10 breaths.

Janu Sirsasana: Seated Forward Fold Variation

Starting in the same position as the seated forward fold, bend one knee and hold it to the side to open the hip. Support the bent leg with a rolled blanket underneath and lengthen the spine. Inhale and draw your belly down on to your thigh, your nose over your knees. Hold this stretch for about five to 10 breaths, then repeat with the other leg, again with the knee bent and the hip opening out to the side. You can try this yoga pose in the morning or at night.

Setu Bandhanasana: Supported Bridge Pose

Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor hip distance apart. Support your lower back with a firm pillow or yoga block. Allow your body to relax. Stay in that position for two to five minutes, then remove the pillow/block and take up to five more breaths. Then roll to one side and push yourself to a seated position using your hands. “This is a great pose to do morning or night, but especially when you feel wound up,” Solanki advised.

Balasana: Child’s Pose

Kneel down and sit on your heels, folding your torso forward while keeping your arms at your sides. Rest your forehead on the floor, using some rolled blankets if you need extra support. Place a bolster between your knees and place piled blankets on the floor beneath you to support your trunk and head if you need it. Rest here for five to 20 minutes and breathe deeply. This yoga pose can help to decrease anxiety, too.

Savasana Variation: Basic Relaxation Pose

Lie on your back with a blanket or pillow rolled under your knees and, if needed, under your arms, which should be outstretched to your sides. Make sure that the base of your skull is also comfortably supported. “Breathe gently and deeply relaxing your body as much as possible,” said Solanki. “This will assist in calming the nervous system and should be practiced within an hour before bedtime.” Rest in this restorative yoga pose for 10 to 20 minutes.

Pranayama: Deep Breathing

“This is essentially a breathing exercise, which moves the breath in unique ways, allowing for different effects on the nervous system,” explained Solanki. “At night, practicing calm, even breathing in a 1:1 ratio and then eventually building up to 1:2, allowing the exhale to lengthen more than the inhale.” You can also try inhaling while blocking one nostril and alternating nostrils with each breath, which can help calm the nervous system, as well.

Efficacy of an Eight-Week Yoga Intervention on Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): A Pilot Study

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Yoga and Pilates for Restless Legs Syndrome

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Uncomfortable sensation in the limbs, mainly in the legs, during rest is known as restless leg syndrome (RLS). It is a disorder of neurological origin that, according to the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN), affects approximately 5 percent of the population and is most likely to be experienced by people over the age of 50.

People with RLS are looking for ways to relieve their symptoms, and yoga and Pilates are two suitable sports for this problem.

Carolina Fernandez Elizo, Coordinator of the Neurophysiotherapy Research Section of the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN), explains that a specific combination of certain exercises for a long time, performed from relaxation and in full concentration, gives parasympathetic stimulation of the autonomic nervous system. As for how these practices can help with RLS, Fernandez states: “The neural impulse received from yoga or Pilates also stimulates acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter hormone), which causes an increase in muscle tone and in turn stimulates muscle release. norepinephrine and dopamine (impaired regulatory functioning of dopamine is one possible cause of the syndrome).”

Benefits of Yoga for Restless Leg Syndrome

With a properly trained teacher, a person suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome can achieve significant improvements through the concentration on breathing required by yoga, which adapts the body to that state of rest where restless legs tend to occur stronger, says Angel Maria Robles, president of the Association of Yoga Teachers (APYM).

Another point in favor of yoga is that everyone can do it, since is an exercise that can be adapted to each individual. . “Yoga poses are performed after complete relaxation, stretching should be performed without tension and always accompanied by breathing, as this allows you to soften the body and eliminate stiffness without straining the muscles,” clarifies the president of APYM.

This syndrome causes very unpleasant situations that can lead to stress , fatigue, insomnia, exhaustion, rejection, depression , bad mood or anxiety . Yoga is also an excellent remedy for dealing with psychosomatic illnesses.

“Pranayama (a set of yoga breathing techniques), relaxation and meditation are the most useful tools that yoga uses to achieve this training. These techniques stimulate the parasympathetic autonomic nervous system, leading to reduced levels of anxiety, stress, better sleep, and better mood,” says Robles.

As for exercises to alleviate this problem, Robles suggests work in three parts and do it at least twice a week so that yoga has a real impact on life:

1st relaxation: bringing the body into a state relaxation through stretching and some asanas, simple yoga postures.

2º Circulation Improvement: Raised legs position to improve circulation in the area, in this type of asana you can do:

  • E he is a nail: this is a difficult yoga pose, it is like doing a handstand, but leaning on your hands, it is advisable to help the teacher or the wall
  • Candle: Lying on your back with your arms outstretched, begin to raise your legs, helping you with your arms until your back is in an upright position supported by your arms by bending your elbows and using your arms as support.

3º Breathing practices: promote relaxation of the body and with it the limbs. At the moment you can choose:

  • Clamp ( clamp, can stand or sit, on which the upper body leans forward, allowing you to lengthen and stretch the spine and legs, touching the ground with the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet. )

Pilates helps with restless legs syndrome

On the other hand, Pilates, despite being yoga-like, focuses more on posture correction and is also recommended for RLS. “The main goal of Pilates is to stabilize the pelvic girdle and scapula with 34 exercises,” says Raul González Sánchez, Pilates teacher at the City Council of Campo Real (Madrid). To solve this problem, Gonzalez proposes to start work on power station (torso, abdominal) with isometric exercises, exercises in the supine position and leg extension, to finally proceed with the actions with the so-called tools. (auxiliary material).

Among attachment exercises, Gonzalez suggests “holding the feedball vise between your legs for five seconds can be a good practice, because this neurological information obtained by doing the exercise, the body remembers it at a nervous level, helping with the syndrome at that moment when he attacks the most , i.e. during rest. The teacher advises to start going to class because “it’s getting a lot easier.” In addition, Gonzalez emphasizes that in every class you must work with all body positions, not all exercises, in order to become aware of the postural control we have over the body.

Medical Tips for Restless Leg Syndrome

Alex Ferre Mazo, an expert in sleep medicine, remembers the following tips for alleviating restless leg syndrome:

  • Avoid stimulants that exacerbate this problem, especially at dusk or in the evening, such as caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, tea or cola.
  • Heat increases the intensity of SPI, so it is advisable not to place your feet in front of radiators, fireplaces, or try to sleep in cool rooms or shower with cold water at night.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise one or two hours before bedtime, exercise in the morning or first thing in the afternoon.
  • Try activities that require a lot of mental focus in the afternoon/evening, such as yoga or Pilates.

Yoga for Restless Legs Syndrome

February 12, 2015

Restless Legs Syndrome is often the result of excessive exercise. To avoid this, you should not overdo it with sports activities.

Yoga is a good prevention of this disease.

What are the benefits of the suggested postures? When doing Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Leg Stretch Pose) and Supta Padangushthasana (Thumb Grab Pose), both of your legs are free of weight, so the muscles are well stretched. Virasana (Hero Pose) while sitting helps to stretch the ankle area, create space in the knee joints and help to relax the calf muscles. You will have to work intensively with the muscles of the feet and ankles in the combination of Vajrasana (Lightning Strike pose) – Malasana (Garland pose). Upavishtha Konasana (Wide Angle Pose) will open up the pelvic region and lengthen the back and inner surfaces of the legs.

Siddhasana (Magic Powers Pose) is good for all joints of the legs and allows you to stretch the inner thighs and relax the groins. Standing poses will help to consolidate the result. Supta Virasana (Lying Hero Pose) stretches the quads. Finish with Viparita Karani and Shavasana (Dead Man Pose).

1. Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upstretched Legs Pose)

Details: The effect of the pose can be increased by placing a rolled mat between the inner surfaces of the legs and tying it with three thigh straps and three calf straps. This will create the effect of compression stockings and direct the muscles towards the bones, thereby facilitating the outflow of fluid.

Lie on your back against a wall and put your feet up on it. Get as close to the wall as possible. Try to press the entire back surface of your legs against it. Extend your calves towards your heels, pull your knees in, and pull your quads in towards the wall. Stretch your arms behind your head and pull them away from the wall, and press your feet against the support. Stay in this position for 5-10 minutes.

2. Supta Padangushthasana-1 and 2 (Big Toe Hold Pose)

Details: Repeat both variations 2 more times.

Lie on the floor with your feet against the wall. Bend your right leg at the knee and put a strap on the front of the heel. Straighten your leg at a 90º angle. Draw in your knees and lengthen your calves towards your heels. Stay in the pose for 1 minute, then move your right leg to the right and your left arm to the left. Place your right shin on the bolster. Keep the left side of the body on the floor, turning the pelvis away from the right hip. Continue to pull your knees in and, without raising your right leg, pull in your outer calf and thigh. The inner surface of the right leg should stretch from the pelvis to the heel. Hold this position for 1 minute.

3. Upavistha Konasana (Wide Angle Pose), heels on bricks

Details: Keep your toes and knees pointing towards the ceiling.

Sit on the floor, spread your legs apart and place blocks under your heels. Press the center of your heels into the bricks, lengthen your insides of your feet towards your heels and point them towards the floor. If you are an experienced practitioner, then place another brick in front of you and stretch forward, moving your hands forward as well. Rest your forehead on the brick.

4. Parvatasana in Virasana (Seated Hero Mountain Pose)

Details: You will need a brick and a folded blanket.

Get down on your shins, put the blanket in your knees, and sit on the brick. Turn the calves outward, and wrap the front parts of the lower leg (they are on the floor) inward. This will help relieve tension in the knee joint. Stretch your toes back and pull in your outer ankles.

Interlace your fingers in front of you and lift them up. Press the shins and metatarsals to the floor, stretch your palms towards the ceiling. Make sure that the pelvis sits exactly on the support, and the sides lengthen upwards. The pose resembles a mountain, where the shins are the base of the mountain, and its peak is in the palms.

5. Vajrasana – Malasana (Thunderbolt Pose, Garland Pose)

Detail: moving from one position to another, bring the outer parts of the ankles together.

Connect your knees and heels and sit on them. Place your palms on your thighs. After 1-2 breaths, lift your pelvis and tuck your toes. The sole should be perpendicular to the floor. Lower your pelvis onto your heels. Stay in this position for a few breaths and exhalations. Then stretch your arms forward, lift your knees off the floor and balance on your toes. Pull your chest forward with your hands and lower your heels to the floor. After a couple of breath cycles, go through the same stages in the opposite direction and return to Vajrasana. Repeat 3-5 times.

6. Siddhasana (Magic Powers Pose)

Beginner Variation: Sit on a brick and stretch your legs straight out to the sides, as in Upavistha Konasana. Then bend the right leg at the knee, pull the foot to the pelvis and place the heel at the perineum. The position of the lower leg is the same as in Virasana. Hold the outside ankle firmly, and point the inside knee and the inside edge of the foot away from each other. Pull your left heel towards your right. Place your palms on your thighs with your arms well extended. Press your shins into the floor. Stretch your body up. Don’t lift your shoulders.

7. Ardha Chandrasana (Crescent Moon Pose)

Details: Remain in the pose for at least 30 seconds. Perform the asana twice on both sides.

Stand with your right side against the wall, lean forward and place your palm on the high edge of the brick. The brick should stand against the wall, at a distance of about 30 cm from the right foot. Bend your right leg at the knee and transfer your weight to your right foot and palm. Then lift your left leg off the floor and place it on the wall parallel to the floor.

Pull your knees in and turn your pelvis away from the supporting leg towards the wall. Stretch your left hand up. Press the back of your body against the wall. Raise the arch of your right foot, turn your upper thigh outward. Stretch the inside of your left heel towards your pelvis. Press the left side of the pelvis against the wall without losing the work of the right leg.

8. Parshvottanasana (Lateral Stretch Pose)

Details: Remain in the pose for at least 30 seconds. Perform the asana twice on both sides.

From Tadasana, step back with your left foot. The distance between the feet is 110 cm. Let the pelvis be slightly turned to the right. Place your hands on your pelvis, look up, arching your chest, then lean forward and lower your hands to the floor. (If your back doesn’t stretch or you can’t straighten your legs, place bricks under your palms or place your fingers against a wall.) Stand up, step your left foot forward and your right foot back, and repeat the pose on the other side. Press your feet into the floor, pull your knees in, and bring the outer surfaces of your shins and thighs together. Lengthen your sides and lengthen your spine.

9. Supta Virasana (Lying Hero Pose)

Details: If the lower back or knees are tense, increase the height of the support by placing a folded blanket on top of the bolster. If your knees are hurting, put a blanket in the crook of your knees.

You will need a bolster and some blankets. Sit in Virasana with your pelvis lowered between your heels. Then lie down on the bolster. Secure your knees with a belt, and add another blanket under your knees – this will allow you to better stretch the front of the thigh. As in Virasana while sitting, pull your big toes back, and turn the outer parts of the calves towards the floor. Draw in the outer shins and ankles to align the joints and muscles of the legs. Stay in the pose for 3-7 minutes.

10. Viparita Karani (Inverted Lake Pose)

Details: Repeat all the footwork described in Urdhva Prasarita Padasana.

Place the brick on the lowest edge against the wall. Place a bolster in front of the brick. Sit sideways on the edge of the bolster and, pushing off the floor with your hands, transfer your legs to the wall and your back to the bolster.

Press the top of your legs against the wall. The bolster should be higher than the brick and support the top of the sacrum, loins and lower back ribs. If you are tall, then add a blanket to the bolster, thereby expanding the surface of the support. Retract the shoulder blades and place the forearms on the sides of the head.

Especially often edema occurs during the hot season or when moving from a continental climate to a tropical one. Swelling in the legs can be a signal of the onset of diseases – the kidneys, intestines, thyroid gland or the cardiovascular system. Therefore, if the legs often swell, you need to see a doctor. More obvious causes of swelling are varicose veins, thrombosis, flat feet, and being overweight. These diseases also require observation by a specialist. Be attentive to the lower extremities with a heavy load on the legs.