What is Garland pose (Malasana)?
Garland Pose, means Malasana in Sanskrit, is a sitting yoga posture that specifies the deep alignment of the hips and knees. The grounding and strengthening pose or Garland pose (Malasana) stretches the ankles, groin, and hips while also working to tone the lower body muscles. To practice Garland pose (Malasana), start standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
Slowly bend your knees and lower your hips towards the ground, keeping your heels on the floor. As you lower your hips, bring your palms together at your heart center in a prayer position. Garland Pose (Malasana) has numerous benefits for the body and mind.
It helps to strengthen the lower body muscles. On a mental level, the pose promotes stability and inner strength. Overall, Garland Pose (Malasana) is an excellent posture for anyone looking to build lower body strength and flexibility.
Meaning of Malasana (Garland pose)
Malasana is a Sanskrit word primarily known as Garland poses in English. Malasana, also known as Garland pose, is a yoga posture that derives its name from the Sanskrit words “mala,” meaning “garland,” and “asana,” meaning “pose.” Malasana (Garland pose) is a low squat pose and is so named because the final position of the practitioner resembles a garland or necklace.
In Malasana, the practitioner squats down with the feet close together and the heels on the floor. The hands are aligned in the prayer pose in front of the heart. The practice of Malasana has been a part of Indian and other Eastern cultures for centuries. It is grounding and calming posture that balances the root chakra, which is associated with stability, grounding, and security.
Origins of Garland pose (Malasana)
As explained earlier, Malasana (Garland pose) is inspired by two Sanskrit words, mala, meaning “Garland,” and asana, meaning “pose.” However, because of the wrong pronunciation of the alphabet “a,” the meaning of the pose has been misinterpreted. In the word mala, if “a” is pronounced with a short sound, it means body waste, and if pronounced with a long sound, it means ‘garland’ or ‘necklace.’
The actual meaning of Malasana (Garland pose) is a pose to excrete human waste. Later with time, both the meanings (waste and Garland) were considered. The traces of this pose can be easily found in Hatha and Vinyasa yoga (Hatha and Vinyasa yoga styles are the classical texts of yoga, based on physical, breathing techniques and mind and body methodologies, respectively).
Yogic explanation of Garland pose (Malasana)
Garland Pose or Malasana is a yoga posture that involves squatting down with the feet together and the heels on the ground. The hands are typically placed in a prayer position at the chest. From a yogic perspective, Malasana is believed to activate the Muladhara (root) chakra, which is located at the base of the spine.
This chakra is associated with grounding, stability, and a sense of connection to the earth. The squatting position of Garland pose (Malasana) is said to stimulate the flow of prana or life energy through the lower half of the body, particularly in the hips, thighs, and lower back. The pose can help to release tension and tightness in the groin areas.
In addition to its physical benefits, the Garland pose (Malasana) is also said to have a calming effect on the mind and can help to reduce anxiety and stress. This pose promotes stability and security by grounding the body and connecting with the earth.
How to practice Garland pose (Malasana)?
Practicing Garland pose (Malasana) promotes physical and mental benefits conditionally if practiced with correct posture. Following are the ten simple steps to practice Garland pose (Malasana):
- Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart and arms by your side.
- Now, take a deep breath, and as you slowly breathe out, bend your knees and lower your hips towards the ground.
- Bring your feet a little wider than hip-width apart and turn your toes out slightly.
- Your weight should be evenly distributed across your feet.
- Keep your chest lifted and you’re back straight as you sink deeper into the pose.
- Bring your palms together at your heart center in a prayer position.
- Use your elbows to gently press your knees apart, opening your hips or groin.
- If your heels lift off the ground, place a rolled-up towel or blanket underneath them.
- Hold the pose for several breaths, focusing on your breath and the sensations in your body.
- To release the pose, bring your palms to the floor before you and straighten your legs, returning to a standing position.
Practicing the pose regularly for 2-3 months will help you to retain the pose for longer time span and find to see better results over your body.
Additional tips while practicing Garland pose (Malasana)
- Use a block or a rolled-up towel under your heels if they lift off the floor. The Garland pose (Malasana) will help you to maintain balance and stability in the pose.
- If your knees are sensitive or you feel discomfort in your knees while practicing Malasana, you can place a folded blanket or a cushion under your heels. They will help to take some pressure off the knees.
- Keep your spine straight and your chest lifted throughout the pose. It will help to lengthen your spine and prevent rounding of the back.
- While practicing the pose, if you find it challenging to lower down and attain the final position, you can take support of a wall to minimize the immense pressure on your back. Doing so will give you extra support and help you find the proper pose alignment.
Benefits of Garland pose (Malasana)
Garland pose, or Malasana, is a deep squatting posture with numerous benefits for the body and mind. Here are some bonuses of practicing the Garland pose (Malasana):
- Stretches the hips: Garland pose (Malasana) is an excellent hip opener that can help release tension and tightness. This pose can be particularly beneficial for people who sit for long periods or have tight hip muscles due to sports or exercise.
- Strengthens the legs: Holding the deep squatting position of Garland pose (Malasana) requires strength and stability in the legs and core muscles. Practicing the Garland pose regularly can build strength in these areas.
- Improves flexibility: As you practice Garland poses (Malasana), you may notice an improvement in your overall flexibility, particularly in the hips, knees, and ankles.
- Boosts digestion: Garland’s deep squatting position can help improve digestion by increasing blood flow to the abdominal area and encouraging peristalsis, or food movement through the digestive tract.
- Activates the Muladhara chakra: In the yogic tradition, the Garland pose (Malasana) is believed to activate the Muladhara chakra, which is associated with feelings of stability, security, and a sense of being grounded.
- Prepares for childbirth: Practicing Garland pose (Malasana) during pregnancy can help to prepare the body for childbirth. The pose strengthens the pelvic floor muscles, which can help to ease the delivery process.
Injuries and helpful tips to avoid injuries
While the Garland pose (Malasana) is generally safe, a few injuries can occur if the pose is not practiced with proper alignment and awareness. Here are some common injuries and helpful tips to avoid them:
- Knee strain: When practicing Garland pose (Malasana), keeping your knees aligned with your toes to avoid knee injury is essential. It helps to defend you against any injury to the knee joints.
- Lower back Injury: It is mandatory to keep your backbone unbent and your chest raised up while practicing the pose. It helps to protect you from any lower back injury or inflammation underneath.
- Anklebone Injury: Keep your feet flat on the ground while practicing the pose without lifting the toes. The structural body weight should be proportionately shared on both feet to avoid anklebone injury.
- Neck Injury: Ensure not to bend your shoulders; your head should be facing forward without dropping or twisting it. It helps to protect you from any injury to the neck.
Contraindications and limitations for practicing Garland pose (Malasana)
While practicing the Garland pose (Malasana) offers numerous benefits, at the same time, some limitations should be considered before practicing it. Here are some forewarnings and barriers of Garland pose (Malasana):
- Knee pain or injury: Those with knee injuries should avoid this pose, as it can put pressure on the knees and exacerbate existing injuries.
- Ankle or foot injuries: Similarly, those with ankle or foot injuries should avoid this pose, as it can put pressure on these areas and worsen existing injuries.
- Hip or pelvic pain: Those with hip or pelvic pain should also be cautious, as this pose requires much hip and pelvic flexibility.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant women should avoid this pose, especially in the later stages of pregnancy, as it can pressure the abdomen and pelvic area.
Garland pose, also known as Malasana, is a yoga posture that involves squatting with the feet close together while standing on the floor. It is a deep hip-opening posture that can stretch the groin, hips, and ankles and strengthen the lower body.
The pose can also improve digestion and circulation and is often used as a preparation pose for deeper hip openers and seated postures. While Garland poses can benefit many, it may not suit those with knee or ankle injuries and lower back pain. It is essential to seek complete knowledge and guidance before practicing.
FAQ’s about Garland pose (Malasana)
Frequently Asked Questions:
(Q-1) How can I prepare for Garland pose?
(A) You can prepare for the Garland pose by stretching the hips and ankles, practicing other squatting postures, and warming the body with a few rounds of sun salutations or other yoga sequences.
(Q-2) How long should I hold Garland pose?
(A) You can hold the Garland pose for several breaths or up to one minute, depending on your comfort level and experience.
(Q-3) How does Garland’s pose help with digestion?
(A) Garland pose can help stimulate the digestive system by compressing the abdominal area and increasing blood flow to the digestive organs.
(Q-4) Can I do Garland pose if I have tight hips?
(A) Yes, Garland can benefit people with tight hips. However, listening to your body and practicing within your limits is essential.
(Q-5) What are the common mistakes to avoid in Garland pose?
(A) Common mistakes to avoid in the Garland pose include rounding the spine, lifting the heels off the floor, and allowing the knees to splay out to the sides.
(Q-6) What are some variations of the Garland pose?
(A) Variations of the Garland pose include using a block or cushion under the heels for support, lifting the heels off the floor, and bringing the hands into a prayer position at heart.