This post is an instalment in a series that delves into the basics of yoga—looking at its postures (asana), breath (pranayama), philosophy, and all the other essentials—giving you the foundations upon which to build a solid practice. Today's focus will be on Malasana, or Garland Pose.
Foundation Friday: Malasana
Pose, or Asana Garland Pose, or "Yogi Squat" mah-lah-sah-nah
In conjunction with our monthly theme, Malasana is one of the ultimate grounding yoga postures. The rooting through the feet, the closeness of the pelvis to the earth, and the general feeling of heaviness and surrendering to the weight of gravity in this posture all encourage a downward flow of energy. Malasana's energetic qualities are calming, soothing, and quieting for the busy mind, as this asana activates a flow of prana down through the body, towards the ultimate source of grounding—the earth.
Many Eastern cultures are accustomed to sitting on the floor for meals and meetings, or squatting comfortably as they go about their daily activities— whereas In our Western world, we spend so much of our lives seated in chairs, car seats, or on couches. We lose the softness and suppleness of our hips, calves, and ankles, and the strength of our low back, thighs, and core. Physically and energetically, malasana helps to counteract these losses.
Malasana may help…
- Tone your thighs, glutes, and calves
- Strengthen your low back and abdominal muscles
- Open through your hips and inner thighs
- Aid in digestion and elimination
- Soothe anxiety and promote calm
So, how do I get there?
- Start standing with your feet about mat-distance apart. Turn your toes slightly outwards.
- Lower your hips in between your legs. Keep your heels on the floor if you can, or support them with a folded mat or towel. You might even try this posture with a prop—like a block, or bolster under your seat.
- Draw your hands into anjali mudra (prayer position) and slide your shoulders back. Press your outer elbows into your inner thighs, and vice versa. If this is too much, keep both of your hands on the floor in front of you for support.
- Lengthen your tailbone down towards the earth—like gravity is pulling it lower—but lengthen the crown of your head higher to elongate your spine.
- Broaden the front of your chest.
We hope this helps you better malasana, or garland pose. Please feel free to comment on our Facebook with any further questions. And let us know if you have something you would like to see featured in Foundation Friday!