Malasana is also called Garland Pose or Yogic Squat. It takes its name from Sanskrit where "Mala" means "Garland", "Necklace" or "Rosary" and "Asana" means "Pose" or "Posture". It generally comes naturally to kids and people who have active lifestyle. But it gets difficult for people who have sedentary lifestyle to get into this pose. But with regular exercise and practice your body develops flexibility to perform Malasana or Garland Pose effectively.

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This yoga pose is also known as the squatting version of Namaskarasana

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Malasana or Garland Pose is a forward bending asana. It releases the stress and tension in the body when it is flexed. Malasana or Garland Pose provides a rhythmic flow of energy and awareness in the body. It ensures that hips are rooted in the back as the spine elongates while practicing the asana.

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Make sure that your stomach and bowel is empty before you start practicing Malasana or Garland Pose. You should have your meals 2-3 hours before practicing the asana as by that time the food would have been digested and the body will have enough energy to practice the Yogasanas.

The best time to practice Malasana or Garland Pose is in the morning but if someone misses the morning practice it is fine to practice in the evening as well.

How to do Malasana or Garland Pose?

How to do Malasana or Garland Pose?

  • To do Malasana or Garland Pose , stand straight on the floor or yoga mat. Get into Tadasana.
  • While standing in Tadasana, raise your spine and squeeze your belly inwards to extend the spine and shoulders upward while taking deep breaths.
  • Bring your palms together in Namaste pose or anjani pose near your chest.
  • Inhale deeply and while exhaling, bend your knees and sit on your feet and soles. Maintain a gap between the knees but maintain the feet together.
  • Once you are in this position with knees bent, the body will be leaning forward and hence lower back will be stretched backwards to initially give you balance. This is normal, but if one is not able to sit on the feet and soles, one could balance the body on toes for the first few times during the practice.
  • You can also keep your feet a little apart during the initial phase of practice if you find it difficult to do it completely in the right manner with the feet close to each other. One should aim towards sitting with knees apart and feet together to get the maximum benefit from Malasana or Garland Pose.
  • Bring your arms in Anjani mudra to rest between the inner thighs. Once you are comfortable keep moving your legs apart by moving the elbows deeper between the thighs to open the knees deeper outwards. Make sure that your knees are a little wider than your torso.
  • If you are not able to balance your body in Anajani mudra, you can also keep your palms on the floor close to your feet in order to support your body and to continue to keep pushing the knees outwards.
  • Maintain your breath in this position. Inhale and Exhale very deeply and with every inhale and exhale continue taking your elbows deep between the thighs and bring your lower back and spine inwards and straight.
  • Also make sure that your hips remain very close to your ankles.
  • To release from the pose, place the palms on the floor and slowly raise the entire body up and stand releasing the back and the shoulders and stay calm with normal breathing. Bring the body in Tadasana again and take a few breaths here to be ready to go back into Malasana or Garland Pose to gain more comfort.

Breathing Pattern to Follow While Practicing Malasana or the Garland Pose

  • Asanas are best performed when you are aware of your breath. The asanas are most beneficial when you take every pose while controlling and maintaining your breath in balance.
  • Inhale, while bending your knees on the ground initially.
  • Exhale, when you are seated with bent knees on your feet completely.
  • Inhale, and expand your shoulders and chest and bring your arms in front of the body on the floor. Exhale, in this position and stay in this position for a few seconds.
  • Continue deep and slow breathing while taking the palms in Anjani Mudra between the inner thighs.
  • Inhale and release the arms along with the shoulders and the chest and exhale while coming up. While exhaling, place the palms on the floor and sit on the floor stretching the legs out completely.

Malasana or the Garland Pose Variations

Pasasana or the Noose Pose or Wrapped Malasana

  • Continue seating in Malasana or Garland Pose with the feet together
  • Bring your knees together and keep the hands on the floor for balancing.
  • While inhaling raise your chest and shoulders up and twist them towards the right and place the left elbow on the outside of the right knee.
  • While exhaling, bring the palms in Anjali Mudra and turn the head and neck gazing to the side or back, whichever is comfortable with your body.
  • Maintain this pose for a few seconds.
  • Release the pose and repeat the same from left side.
  • Pasasana pushes the thighs closer to the body to strengthen the abdominal organs.
  • Another variation of this pose is Standing wrapped Malasana or Garland Pose where you can twist and rotate your body around you knee in a similar way while standing.

Eka Hasta Bhujasana or One Legged Insect Pose

  • To do this variation yoga pose of Malasana or the Garland Pose, bend your left knee and place the foot close to your torso while stretching the right leg out.
  • While inhaling, lift the left leg upwards and at the same time support the left thighs by placing the left hand close to the left knee
  • While exhaling try to bring your left leg above or close to the left shoulder.
  • Stay in this position for a few breaths.
  • Now, bend forward a bit to place the leg gently and comfortably on the shoulder and bring the left palm on the floor close to the left inner thighs.
  • Bring your right palm and rest it on the outside of the right thigh, slowly and gently raise your body from the floor by balancing your body on both the wrists
  • Make sure that you keep your spine straight.
  • Exhale deeply as you come in this pose and maintain your breath till you can retain the pose.
  • Also, make sure that the right leg is stretched out in front and the left leg remains bent at the knee and rested on your left shoulder.
  • Stay in the pose as long as you can
  • Release and repeat the pose from the other side.
  • Relax in Balasana after completing the practice from both sides.

Ardha Malasana or Half Squat Pose

To do Ardha Malasana which is a variation pose of Malasana or Garland Pose:

  • Stand straight on the floor or yoga mat. Get into Tadasana.
  • While standing in Tadasana, raise your spine and squeeze your belly inwards to extend the spine and shoulders upward while taking deep breaths.
  • Bring your palms together in Namaste pose or anjani pose near your chest.
  • Inhale deeply and while exhaling, bend your knees and sit on your feet and soles. Maintain a gap between the knees but maintain the feet together.
  • Once you are in this position with knees bent, the body will be leaning forward and hence lower back will be stretched backwards to initially give you balance. This is normal, but if one is not able to sit on the feet and soles, one could balance the body on toes for the first few times during the practice.
  • You can also keep your feet a little apart during the initial phase of practice if you find it difficult to do it completely in the right manner with the feet close to each other.
  • One should aim towards sitting with knees apart and feet together to get the maximum benefit from Malasana.
  • Bring your arms in Anjani mudra to rest between the inner thighs. Once you are comfortable keep moving your legs apart by moving the elbows deeper between the thighs to open the knees deeper outwards. Make sure that your knees are a little wider than your torso.
  • As you are comfortable and stable in this position, bring your right leg forward in such a way that the edge of your heel touches the floor and leg is resting straight on the floor in front of the body.
  • Stay in this position for a few seconds. Maintain your breath while you are in this pose.
  • Exhale deeply while releasing the asana and rest in Balasana for a few minutes.

Benefits of Practicing Malasana or the Garland Pose

  • One of the benefits of Malasana or Garland Pose is that it stretches the lower back, groin, sacrum, hips and ankles thus providing flexibility and strength to the body.
  • Malasana is also beneficial in toning the belly and reducing the unnecessary fat from the belly.
  • It also helps in getting rid of lower back pain and strain in back.
  • Malasana or Garland Pose stimulates the metabolism and activates and massages the abdominal or digestive organs and thus helps in improving digestion.
  • Performing Malasana or Garland pose 3-4 times a day keeps the pelvic floor healthy and strong.
  • Malasana stretches the lower back muscles, it helps in keeping the hips strong and gives support to the reproductive organs. It also eases the menstrual pain for females who usually face intense pain while they are on menstrual cycle.
  • It strengthens the chest and shoulders and make them strong. It expands the chest and shoulder muscles thereby increasing the blood flow and flexibility.
  • It can also help reduce incontinence if practiced regularly.
  • Malasana is also beneficial in easing child birth if practiced regularly as it stretches the lower body completely.
  • Malasana or Garland Pose gives flexibility to the ankles and strengthens the hips.
  • Malasana also helps in increasing concentration and is very good for children to practice.
  • It improves the performance the gymnasts, cyclists, dancers and runners if practiced regularly.
  • As the knees are bent in this asana, the muscles around the knee are conditioned and thus leading to the strengthening of the knees.
  • All the muscles of the legs hamstrings, quadriceps, inner thighs etc. are stretched while practicing Malasana ensuring good functioning of the leg muscles.

Precautions and Contraindications While Practicing Malasana or Garland Pose

  • A large amount of pressure is put on legs and ankles while practicing Malasana, so it should not be done if you have any leg or ankle injury.
  • Malasana should not be practiced by pregnant females as it puts pressure on the abdomen. Malasana or Garland Pose can be however be practiced by women during their initial and middle stages of pregnancy as it opens up the pelvis and aids healthy and natural child birth. But, it should be avoided during the late stages of pregnancy as it can also trigger labor pain.
  • Anyone who has had any ligament tear around the knee or ankle also should not practice Malasana.
  • If you have run for a long distance you should not practice Malasana or Garland Pose after the run as it puts more pressure on the legs and can cause damage to the tissues of knees and ankles.
  • People with lower back pain and other back ailments should also not practice Malasana.
  • If you have any doubts about your physical condition, you must consult a physician before practicing Malasana or Garland Pose. It should always be performed under the guidance of a trained yoga expert.
  • Do not put strain on your body while practicing Malasana. Go as far as your body allows. Do not push yourself during the practice as it may damage the knee and ankle ligaments and tissues.
Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 2, 2017

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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