Malasana pose is also known as squat pose, garland pose, wide squat pose, and sitting down pose. It’s a pose that takes some work to get right, but it’s highly beneficial in several ways. The name of malasana pose comes from the Sanskrit words mala, meaning necklace or garland, and asana, meaning posture or pose. Variations of this pose also exist for those who want to try it another way or may have an easier time getting into the variations.
Garland Pose Meaning
Garland pose is associated with the garlands of beads or flowers that have long been used in India as altar decorations and offered as ritual offerings. The use of prayer beads, also called mala beads, is often connected to meditation. When yoga is done that opens the hips, as the squat pose does, it is traditionally done to prepare for focusing long term. It’s a helpful pose in meditation and for emotional and physical benefits.
The mala represents the continual processes of the universe, creation, and the circle of life. Getting into the pose can activate the practitioner’s Swadisthana chakra, affecting the emotions and the practitioner’s sexuality. The malasana pose is a grounding type of pose that can stimulate your energy that is downward flowing. With the feet in solid contact with the ground, this pose can help you to be more present in the moment and in better touch with your authentic self.
Benefits of the Squat Pose
This pose helps with both toning and loosening of various areas. It helps to tone the muscles of the abdomen, and it can help with elimination. Garland pose opens up the pelvis and deepens the lower back, waist, and hips. It also loosens the lower back and hips, and pregnant women can use it to help with birth later. It also helps yogis to tone the major muscles in the chest and allows stretching of the Achilles tendon. It tones the tissues and muscles that are around the knees, and it can help with digestion.
Tension in many people tends to build up in the hips, and the squat pose can help to dispel this tension. The pose can be used to relieve lower back pain and to strengthen the ankles and feet. It can improve balance and can help ease the pain of sciatica. It can also help with the discomfort that can come from menstrual issues. The mental benefits include:
- Reducing anxiety and stress.
- Helping to relieve some mild depression.
- Allowing the practitioner to be more poised.
How to Get Into Malasana Pose
When a yogi wants to get into this beneficial pose, there are a few steps to get into the proper posture. First, stand up straight with your feet as wide apart as your hips. Then, separate your feet wide enough that your ankles remain on the ground when you get into the pose’s squat. You may have to raise your hips a little to make this happen.
Then, begin the squat. As you squat, make sure that you keep your balance. If you can’t, keep a chair in front of you and hold onto it to balance. Your heels and the soles of your feet must stay flat and connected to the ground. You’ll need to pull on the muscles of the abdomen.
Place your forearms on your knees and open your palms. You can let your palms meet in the center of your chest. For a more advanced squat pose, place your elbows inside the knees and press them together with steady pressure. Keep it for a minute or two as you breathe deeply when you get into this posture.
Yoga blocks can help you to get into this pose and to stay there for longer. Place blocks under your feet to make the pose more comfortable to do. You can also perform it against a wall first to have more support.
Garland Pose Variations
There are a couple of good variations of this pose you can try to change it up.
One of these is a bent-forward variation that can give you a great stretch. To start this pose:
- Keep your feet together and squat down on your hunches.
- Keep your ankles and the soles of your feet on the ground.
- Raise your bottom from the floor and balance that way.
- Move your knees apart and move forward with your torso.
- Exhale and wrap both arms around your legs and place your palms flat on the ground.
- Stretch your neck and back upward.
- After about 30 seconds to one minute, exhale and bend forward until your head is on the floor.
- After 30 seconds to one minute, raise your head from the ground and stretch your neck and back upward again.
- Let your hands go and place them on the floor.
Another variation of the garland pose is to get into mountain pose and keep your feet touching at their inner edges.
- Place your arms so they are parallel to the ground for better balance.
- As you keep your feet flat on the ground and touching, exhale and get into a squat. Keep your hips up off the floor.
- Move your knees apart and lean yourself forward in between them.
- Bring your arms to the front and let your inner knees touch your upper arms.
- Place your hands in their prayer position.
- Widen the area in between your elbows as your knees give resistance.
- Then, press down with the inner part of your feet and press your knees to the upper part of your arms.
- As you push down your tailbone, give everything from your head to your pelvis an upward stretch.
- As you breathe in, place your hands behind your back and hold your heels.
- As you breathe out, bring your head down until it reaches the floor.
- Make sure you’re keeping your heels down. Use your big toes to press downward as you spread out your toes.
- Lastly, move your knees toward each other. After 30 seconds to one minute, release.
Doing the Malasana pose and its variations can help you physically, emotionally, and mentally. With a bit of practice, you may find this pose highly useful. If you’re looking for a safe space to practice yoga and learn new poses, check out our upcoming schedule and us at Yoga Nyla.