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  • Writer's pictureLauren L. Murphy

Thin Space No. 31: Flip the Perspective

The Question

What do you see when you see?


The Intention

Flip the perspective


The Meditative Moment

Some options today for our restoration:

  • Lie down in the middle of the room and lift your legs up into the air. Placing a yoga block or a bolster/pillow under your sacrum can make this more comfortable. And your legs don’t have to be perfectly straight.

  • Lie down and place your legs up against a wall. Again, a bolster/pillow under your sacrum can make this more comfy.

  • Lie down and place your calves on the seat of a chair. If you do this one, I’m going to ask you to put your arms up in the air, so you look like a reclining zombie. Or an upside-down tabletop pose.

Handstands and headstands are not part of my personal yoga practice. I’m not there yet. And when I approach people about Heart Forward Yoga, they sometimes wonder what poses I teach, asking if I’ll make them go upside down. I smile and say, “No. We won’t do headstands or handstands. When you’re anxious or grieving, your world is already upside down. You don’t need your body to be upside down too.” (It might help some grievers and worriers, so I don’t want to dismiss these inversions if they are part of your practice.) But I do teach this one, legs-up-the-wall (Viparita Karani). If you use the block or bolster, it’s a slight inversion, meaning your hips are higher than your heart. And your feet (or hands) are in the air, allowing the blood to flow a little differently than it normally does. But another reason I like this pose for grief and anxiety is that it gently flips my perspective: I don’t often look at my toes, but if they’re suspended above me, I do. It feels carefree to lay on my back with limbs in the air, something that grief and anxiety rarely feel. It allows my back to take the weight that my legs so often hold, and such relief from carrying is lovely when we feel like we’re holding so much. What do you see from this spot?

Burren, Ireland

Originally sent August 31, 2023, to paid Substack subscribers. If you want to receive current Thin Space reflections, you can start a paid subscription here: You can choose to pay $75/year or $8/month.

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