Malasana or the Garland Pose gives flexibility to the hip and back muscles.In Sanskrit, Mala means garland and Asana means a pose. Malasana helps to open up the hips and the groins muscles.
In many traditional cultures, squatting is part of the daily routine. But today, we have got habituated to sitting on chairs and sofas. This has led to a gradual degradation of flexibility of our lower back and hip joints. Malasana is an excellent pose to bring back this lost flexibility and prepares us for the practice of more complex yogic poses.
Malasana has many variations which are practiced in the squatting position. Those with knee or hip injuries should avoid doing this pose. Also those who have very tight hip and groins should practice Malasana carefully and gently, in the presence of a trained yoga instructor.
How to do Malasana (The Garland Pose)?
- Squat on the floor with legs far apart. Let the sole of the feet touch the floor completely. The feet should point out diagonally.
- Bring the torso forward and slide the hands in front of the thighs. The outer side of the upper arm should touch the inner side of the thigh. The elbows should touch the inner side of the knees.
- Place the hands in the praying position against the chest which is called Namaskara pose or Anjali Mudra.
- Open the chest and push the legs wide apart with the help of elbows, by putting pressure against the inner side of the knees. At the same time try to bring the pelvis forward and feel the tightness in the hips, arms and the pelvic region.
- Breathe normally and deeply in this position.
- Maintain this position for as long as you are comfortable.
- To release the pose, bring your hands down. Bend forward and straighten the knees and stand up.
- If you feel stress or numbness in any part of the legs or hips, you may lie down in Shavasana or the supine relaxation pose, till you feel comfortable to get up.
Benefits of Malasana (The Garland Pose)
- Malasana helps to open up the hips joint and groin muscles.
- It mildly stretches the lower hamstring muscles around the ankles.
- Malasana stretches the muscles of the back and neck.
- It tones the organs in the abdomen thereby improving digestion and metabolism.
- Malasana can be practiced by women during their initial and middle stages of pregnancy. It opens up the pelvis and aids healthy natural child birth. But, avoid doing it during the late stages of pregnancy as it may trigger labor pain.