Malasana (Garland Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)


What is Malasana (Garland Pose)?

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Malasana, or the Garland Pose, is also known as deep Yogi Squat. This is a beginner-friendly, traditional Hatha yoga posture.

You’ll start by sitting in a deep-low squat position with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart and palms touching each other in Namaste formation. This deep squat position is an effective way to stretch and energize the pelvic area, ankles, and knees. 

This pose also works really well as a hip-opening warm-up for deep leg stretching postures. Performing this pose daily can help flush your colon and fight symptoms of constipation. 

Malasana is a combination of two Sanskrit words, 'Mala' which stands for a 'garland of flowers’ or 'dirt,' and 'Asana' means pose or posture. 

Malasana references can be traced back to a few ancient Hatha yoga texts, but today it's practiced in various modern variations in different styles of yoga. 

In Hinduism, a garland of fresh flowers is offered to Hindu Gods during daily devotional practices. A garland of energy beads is also used for Mantra chanting during deep meditation, making it a symbol of the cycle of life or the ongoing renewal process. 

In other representations, Mala is also referred to as dirt and impurities, which symbolizes the benefit of sitting in the deep yogi squat position. 

Sitting in a deep squat can put the appropriate amount of pressure on the colon and pelvis, which helps improve bowel movements. 

Sanskrit Name: मालासन                       Pronunciation: muh-laa-suh-nuh

Pose Type: Seated Hip Opener           Also known as: Garland Pose or Yogi Squat

Strengthens: Glutes, Inner Thighs, Ankles, Quads, Calfs, and Low Back

Stretches: Glutes, Inner Thighs, Ankles, Hip Flexors, and Spine

Health Benefits of Malasana

  • Reduces low back pain.

  • Enhances concentration. 

  • Regulates sexual energy. 

  • Strengthens the hip and knee joints. 

  • Reduces stiffness around the tailbone. 

  • Stretches the glutes, thighs, and lower back. 

  • Strengthens the ankles, calves, and low back. 

  • Increases blood circulation around the pelvis. 

  • Improves digestion and enhances colon function. 

  • Effective for pregnant women to prepare for childbirth. 

  • Enhances female hormonal balance and fights hormonal disorders. 

When to Avoid Performing Malasana

  • Avoid if you are postpartum. 

  • Avoid after spine surgery.

  • Avoid after hip-replacement surgery. 

  • Avoid if you currently have chronic low back pain or injury.

  • Avoid if you have inflammatory arthritis in the knees or ankles.

How to do Malasana (Garland Pose)

Garland pose can be overwhelming for beginners, so we’ve divided the Malasana practice into easy-to-follow steps. Grab your yoga mat and let’s get started. 

Part 1 - Preparatory Poses for Malasana

To smoothly execute the grounding Garland pose, all you need to have is a strong spine with flexible legs and pelvic floor. These are a few warm-up poses to get your body ready for the main pose: 

1. Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) - Get into Staff pose, and keep your torso, neck, and head upright. Bend your legs from your knees and keep the soles of your feet together, touching each other. 

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Relax your sit bones into the mat, keeping your knees close to the ground, and focusing on your breath. Hold this pose for 3 to 5 minutes, and let your spine, glutes, and thighs open up. 

2. Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend) - Open up your inner thighs and hamstrings with a Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend. Start by sitting in Staff position and open your pelvis by extending your legs at your sides. 

Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend)

Start to inhale and lift your arms overhead. Now, exhale and bend forward toward the ground. Finally, rest your forehead and torso on the floor and let your lower body open up for a few minutes. 

Part 2: Step-by-Step Instructions to Perform Malasana

The following are steps to practice Garland pose or Yogi Squat: 

Step 1- Start from a wide-legged Mountain pose and gently sit in a low squat position. 

Step 2- Bend your arms from your elbows and form a namaste figure (Anjali Mudra) with your hands. 

Step 3- Keep your arms in between the gap of your legs, near your chest. 

Step 4- With added resistance from your arms, stretch your legs deeper with pressure applied from your elbows. 

Step 5- Keep your glutes close to your ankles, toes pointing to the sides, and roll your shoulders back. 

Step 5- Hold the pose for 1 minute and take a few deep breaths in this position. 

Step 6- Release the Garland position by getting into a Standing Forward Fold pose to relax your glutes, arms, and spine. 

Breath Awareness: 

  • Inhale: While getting low in Yogi Squat position. 

  • Exhale: Before deeply expanding your chest muscles. 

  • Inhale & Exhale: While holding the pose for a prolonged duration. 

Performance Duration for Beginners: Hold Malasana for 30 to 60 seconds. 

Performance Duration for Advanced: Hold Malasana for 2 to 5 minutes. 

Part 3: Things to Keep in Mind

The following are some posture tips for performing Garland pose safely:

  • Sink into your glutes: Many practitioners mistakenly keep their hips at the level of their knees, but Malasana is a deep squat. Sink closer to the ground in your glutes. For better understanding, remember that you need to level your thighs lower than your knees and hips and closer to the ground. 

  • Don't hold for too long: If your knees are hurting a little after your practice, then do not stay in this pose for too long. Also, if you have any severe knee problems like joint injury or arthritis, it's a wise choice to avoid this pose. 

Part 4: Relaxing Poses After Malasana

Below are some relaxing yoga postures to recover from your Yogi Squat practice: 

1. Pashchimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) - From Dandasana, breathe in and bring both arms up overhead. Breathe out, lengthen your arms forward, reach to your feet and hold them with both hands. 

Pashchimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

Rest your forehead on your knees and hold this pose for a few minutes until you feel relaxed and rejuvenated in your spine and legs. 

2. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose) - Lie down on your back and join the soles of your feet together. Place your palms on the yoga mat at your sides, and close your eyes as you start to focus on your breath.  

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)

This will bring your spine to its natural shape while simultaneously restoring your knee joints, pelvis, and core muscles. 

Malasana Modifications and Props

Minimize the strain on your back, spine, and glutes by adding these modifications to your Garland pose practice: 

  • Take wall support - Stand in a wide-legged Mountain pose for a few breaths. Now, turn your toes out, slide your spine down while standing against the wall, and sit into the low squat position using the wall to support you from behind. 

Take wall support

This will allow you to sit in the Yogi Squat position for longer without feeling any discomfort in your spine. 

  • Sit on a yoga block - 

Once your spine, knees and low back feels strong enough to move away from the wall, you can start to add more challenge for your legs.

Sit on a yoga block

Step away from the wall and add a yoga block below your glutes for minimal support. This modification allows you to build strength while getting some support from the block throughout the hold. 

Malasana Variations to Consider

If you’ve already aced your Garland pose practice, try challenging your lower body with the following variations: 

1. Malasana I - Squat on your haunches and keep your feet together. Ensure that your soles and heels are entirely flat on the floor. Now, inhale and stretch your knees out to the side to give you space to move your torso forward in this gap. 

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Exhale, stretch your arms in front and place them lower onto the ground for a few seconds to open your shoulders. Focus on your breath and gently wrap your arms from your shins to your tailbone behind your back. 

To challenge your flexibility further, rest your forehead on the floor. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds to increase your shoulder mobility and lower body flexibility. 

2. Malasana II - Start from Malasana I position, and this time wrap your arms – starting from your shins to the back of your ankles. 

Malasana II

Make sure you are gripping your ankles with your fingers. Exhale and move your forehead down to the ground. Maintain this position for 30-60 seconds and then relax by returning to the simple Garland position. 

3. Malasana on Tip Toes - Start from the primary Garland position and engage your core muscles. Keep the soles of your feet close, chin tucked, spine lengthed, and gaze low toward the ground. 

Malasana on Tip Toes

Now, get onto your tip toes and balance your whole body. Push your knees even closer to the ground by stretching your abductors wide on the side. 

Maintain a broad chest with hands in Gayan Mudra or Anjali Murda. Hold this position for 30 seconds for a strong core and flexible legs. 

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Level-Up Poses After Malasana for Advanced Yogis

Here’s a few advanced-level yoga poses you can try after you master Garland pose: 

Level-Up Pose 1 - Bhujapidasana (Shoulder Pressing Posture)

Level-Up Pose 2 - Parivrtta Malasana (Revolved Garland Pose)

Level-Up Pose 3 - Sahaja Ardha Malasana (Spontaneous Flowing Half Squat)

Level-Up Pose 4 - Surya Yantrasana (Compass Pose)

Level-Up Pose 5 - Utkata Konasana (Goddess Squat)

Bhujapidasana (Shoulder Pressing Posture)

Bhujapidasana (Shoulder Pressing Posture)

Parivrtta Malasana (Revolved Garland Pose)

Parivrtta Malasana (Revolved Garland Pose)

Sahaja Ardha Malasana (Spontaneous Flowing Half Squat)

Sahaja Ardha Malasana (Spontaneous Flowing Half Squat)

Surya Yantrasana (Compass Pose)

Surya Yantrasana (Compass Pose)

Utkata Konasana (Goddess Squat)

Utkata Konasana (Goddess Squat)

Similar Seated Poses like Malasana

Below are some more seated yoga positions that you can add to your hip-opening yoga routine: 

  1. Padmasana (Lotus Pose)

  2. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

  3. Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

  4. Siddhasana (Accomplished Pose)

  5. Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Frequently Asked Questions about Malasana (Garland Pose)

What is Malasana good for?

Can beginners perform Malasana?

What are the different preparatory poses for Malasana?

What are the benefits of Malasana yoga?

What are the different variations in the Malasana squat?

Who should avoid performing Malasana?

How long should you hold Malasana?

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