Malasana - Garland pose
Malasana pronounced as mahanaim-LAHS-anna is derived from two Sanskrit words mala which means garland or rosary and asana which means pose. This pose, therefore, is known to be a restorative pose that helps the yogi to restore aspects that may have been lost in their spirituality of physical aspects. The name Malasana translates to Garland pose in English.
It is also known as the low squat since the yogi goes down in a squat position but lower.
Malasana Step by step
Step 1: Stand straight on the mat and get into tadasana. Squat with your feet as close as possible, and go as low as you can. The heels of your feet should be on the ground. If you are unable to keep them on the ground then you should use folded mats on the heels for support.
Step 2: on the lowest position, separate your thighs as much as possible ensuring they are slightly wider than your torso.
Step 3: as you exhale lean your torso forward to fit in between the thighs. This will ensure that your body goes lower.
Step 4: To ensure that your legs can stay in that position, place your elbows on the knees and bring your hands to Anjali mudra. This also stretches your torso. Keep your hips close to your ankles and hold the position for a number of breaths.
Step 5: to release from this pose place your palms on the floor and then push up to standing position.
The Asana can be performed with a chair seat at the back for those who are not able to go all the way down during the squat. This is a variation called the half garland pose or Ardha Malasana.
Baddha konasana, Upavistha konasana and virasana.
Follow up poses
Uttanasana, adho mukha svanasana and bhujangasana.
Stretches the ankles, groin, and back
Stretches the thighs
Strengthens the back
Tones the abdomen
Tones the buttocks
You can make Malasana pose even more engaging with a few variations. While at the lowest position, bring your knees together and keep your feet together. Place your arms on the floor for support. Inhale deeply raising the chest and the shoulders to the highest position.
As you do so, twist the chest and shoulders to the right. Place the left elbow on the outside of the right knee. Bring your arms to Anjali mudra as you exhale and turn the head and neck gazing to different directions. Repeat the same on the other side.
The pose has been practiced with Anjali mudra because of the benefits that this mudra adds to a pose. It makes the pose more energetic and stimulates the metabolism of the body. It is also known to relieve stresses and help both the body and brain relax.
Squat pose, standing pose
If it is difficult to squat to the low position you can squat to the edge of a seat. Your thighs should form a right angle to your torso. While at the seated position, lean your torso forward to add to the stretches on the back.