Garland Pose

Common Title Malasana
English Title Garland Pose
Sanskrit Title Malasana
All Titles Garland Pose, Malasana, Upavesasana, Wide Squat Pose, Sitting Down Pose
Pose Level Beginner
Pose Position Standing
Pose Type Stretch,
Sanskrit Pronunciation Play Audio
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Yoga Sequences

List of yoga sequences with Malasana:

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Malasana, or Garland Pose (as the arms hang from the neck like a garland) is a very basic pose and should come naturally to all. But with modern comfort and habits, the simple bending of knee and sitting on our feet has become a great challenge to most of us. Malasana brings back the most simple way of using the lower back and the knees to squat on the floor which otherwise should come naturally.

Malasana works wonders on the digestive organs and this is done by the simple method of sending apana (one of the five vital Vayus as per Yoga) downwards and thus bringing a strong Muladhara (one of the Chakras in the human body as per Yoga Sutras), which is the root of the spine.

Garland Pose is considered a base pose as garland pose variations can be derived from this pose. Garland Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.

Chakras

Garland Pose helps open, activate, and balance the following chakra(s):
  • Sacral Chakra (Swadisthana Chakra)
  • Root Chakra (Muladhara Chakra)

Anatomy

Garland Pose benefits the following muscles and hence can be included in yoga sequences with the corresponding muscle(s) focus:
  • Lower Back
  • Hamstrings
  • Hips

Garland Pose yoga sequences

Garland Pose is commonly found in the following types of yoga sequences:
  • Kids yoga sequences
  • Yin yoga sequences
  • Yoga sequences for relieving lower back pain
  • Yoga sequences with focus on hamstrings
  • Hip opening yoga sequences

How to do Garland Pose

The below cues and yoga sequences added by yoga teachers show multiple ways to do Garland Pose depending on the focus of your yoga sequence and the ability of your students.

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  1. Lower down thru squat or come down any way that is integral to your body.
  2. From downdog walk your hands back towards your feet. Separate your feet as wide as the mat - turn your heels in and toes out slightly.

    Sink your hips towards the floor keeping the soles of the feet as flat to the floor as possible. Bring your elbows to your inner knees and hands to the front of ...
  3. feet apart, heels in / toes out
    Hands to heart center, elbows send knees wide
  4. Feet hip distance or slightly more apart
    Gently come down to squat
    Keep feet flat on the mat
    Hands to heart centre
    Back straight
    Elbows against thighs to widen stance
    Elbow pushing leg away
    Mat/blanket under heels if required
  5. Malasana (yogi squat)
    Take feet out to edge of mat, can turn toes out a bit, and squat down.
    Hands together in front of heart, press elbows into thighs.
    Tailbone heavy, heart light. Gaze fwd.
    Deep IH/EH.
    Can put block under but or blanket under heels.
    Inner groin, inner HS, hips.

    Transit...
  6. -Heel-toe ft in to a little wider malasana
    -Squat down
    -Triceps against knees, prayer hands
    -Open heart
    -Push triceps into knees/resist back w thighs
    -Press down thru heels, feels like you’re lifting hips ~1” off floor
  7. Bend you knees and squat down
    Feet flat on the ground
    bum low
    Hands in front of your heart
    transition on the exhale
  8. Frame arms down the inside of the leg,
    Separate elbows, Flare them out
    Catch the front of the shin with back of the arms
  9. Be specific
    Inside of ft together
  10. -Be specific
    -Inside of ft together
  11. -Frame arms down the inside of the leg,
    -Separate elbows, Flare them out
    -Catch the front of the shin with back of the arms
  12. Take feet out to edge of mat, walk hands back, can turn toes out a bit, and squat down. Hands together in front of heart, press elbows into thighs. Tailbone heavy, heart light. Gaze fwd. Deep IH/EH. Can put block under but or blanket under heels. Inner groin, inner HS, hips.
  13. - Arms to the floor
    - Bend your knees toes pointing out to the front
    - Arms to hear to center for MALASANA Garland pose
  14. BLOCK
    AA in Malasana kommen

    Während die Hüfte immer mehr Ri Boden sinken, drück die OS mit den Ellenbogen nach außen
    Lass die Spannungen der Knie und Fußgelenke los
    Öffnen die Hüfte für die folgenden Asanas

    12 AZ

Discover more cues, teaching ideas, and how to do steps at How to Do Garland Pose

Garland Pose Benefits

Garland Pose Benefits:

Some of the benefits of this wonderful pose are:

  • Great for lower back: This pose is good for the entire back and builds flexibility in the muscles related to the back. The spine expands with tightening of the lower back muscles.
  • Strengthens knees: As the knees are bent, the muscles around the knee are flexed.
  • Conditions legs: Works good for the entire leg, the inner thighs, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and the ankles. The weight of the body on the ankle in this squat position ensures proper blood circulation and therefore greater functioning of the leg muscles.
  • Opens up chest and shoulders: The chest and the shoulders become strong and the muscles begin to expand therefore improving blood flow and flexibility.
  • Improves Digestion: Malasana has many health benefits. The abdominal organs are well massaged and the toning of the abdominal muscles helps improve digestion.
  • Relieves lower back ache due to Menstruation: It is useful for lower back pains especially for women during menstruation. Malasana (Garland Pose) expands the lower back muscles, keeps the hips strong and gives a great support to the reproductive organs.
In summary, Malasana (Garland Pose) tones overall body: neck, arms, chest, tummy, hips, thighs and legs. Continue reading more on Garland Pose Benefits

Garland Pose Contraindications

 (Garland Pose) Garland Pose Contraindications:
  • Injury to knees or ankles: This pose brings tremendous amount of pressure on knees and ankles, so someone with an injury at the knee or ankle should avoid Malasana.
  • Pregnancy: This pose puts a lot of pressure on the abdominal area and must be avoided by pregnant women.
  • Knee or Ankle Ligament Tear: Anyone with ligament tear at the knee or ankle should avoid this pose.
  • Weak Lower Back: If there is pain in the lower back and it needs rest, then avoid this pose completely.
  • After Running: This asana should not be practiced as a relaxing asana soon after running by athletes, the pressure at the ankles and the calves may only bring more damage to the tissues around the knee and the ankles.

Most of the above cases could be overcome with cautious practice under the guidance of a trained yoga teacher, except for pregnant women.

Garland Pose Variations

Garland Pose Variations: Below are some common variations of the yoga pose Garland Pose with base pose as Garland Pose (Malasana).

Garland Pose Steps

 (Garland Pose) Garland Pose Steps:

Let’s learn how to get into Malasana so that we can get the maximum benefit from this pose. So, below are step-by-step instructions.

  1. Bring your feet together and stand in Tadasana. Raising your spine and pulling in the tummy, expand the spine and shoulders upwards taking a few breaths in this pose.
  2. Bring the palms in Namaste near your chest and expand the chest out and strong.
  3. Take a deep inhalation and as you exhale bend your knees and sit on your feet and soles. Maintain a gap between the knees but maintain the feet together.
  4. 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.
  5. One could also bring the feet a bit apart for the initial rounds of practice to get comfortable in this pose. But one should aim towards sitting with knees apart and feet together to get the maximum benefit from Garland Pose.
  6. Bring the Namaste arms in between your inner knees placing the elbows close to the inner thigh. Once the body is comfortable, slowly push the elbows deeper into your thighs to open the knees deeper outwards.
  7. If taking the arms in Namaste does not help in balancing the body, then bring the palms on the floor close to your feet in order to continue pushing the knees apart.
  8. Begin the slow inhalation and exhalation and with every exhalation take the elbows deep within the thighs and bring the spine and the lower back inwards and straight. Ensuring the buttocks remain close to the ankles.
  9. 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 to gain more comfort.
Learn more: Garland Pose Steps

Garland Pose Modifications

 (Garland Pose) Garland Pose Modifications:

To make Malasana pose easy and to get the full benefit of the yoga pose, some tips below may be of help.

  • Blocks under Feet or Buttocks: One could use blocks below the feet and below the buttocks to begin learning to balance the body.
  • Sit on Toes: If one cannot sit on feet, then start the practice going with toes and over a period of time the body will fall back on the feet as the balance improves.
  • Blanket under Heels: Using a blanket to place under the heels may give a better support to go forward without losing balance.
  • Rolled Yoga mat: One could place a rolled yoga mat below their feet to get better support for the lower back which will avoid the body to fall forward and putting more pressure to the knees
  • Spread your Feet: You can bring your feet, hip distance apart if you are just starting out with Malasana.

Garland Pose Yoga Sequence Preparatory Poses

A few asanas to prepare for Malasana are listed below. These preparatory yoga poses help open the lower abdomen, and strengthen the legs and hips.

  • Ubhaya Padangusthasana (Both Big Toe Pose, Double Toe Hold) Ubhaya Padangusthasana (Both Big Toe Pose): In this yoga pose, the strength needed to hold the legs up at 60 degrees while keeping the body balanced comes from the abdomen. Hence it can be considered as a preparatory pose for Malasana. Seated in Dandasana, with legs stretched out, keep the spine straight and stretched. Inhale and raise your legs slowly while balancing your body. As you exhale, bring the upper body to stretch forward. Take hold of your toes with your fingers and slowly take the legs to about 60 degrees. Pull in the tummy and make the abdominal areas tight. Stay here with slow breathing. Maintain the body posture by stretching the arms out and legs up and transferring the body weight from the hip to the abdomen.

  • Lion Pose (Simhasana) Lion Pose (Simhasana): This pose again is to do with balancing, and the focus is more on the legs and hips in this pose. From Dandasana (seated with the legs stretched out in front of you with spine straight), fold the knees and place the feet close to you and as you exhale raise the body up and bring the feet together and open the knees as wide as you can take them, balancing the body on your toes. Raise the spine straight by pulling in the abdominal muscles and keep the hip straight and up. You could have your palms in Namaste or Ashwini Mudra. Try and maintain this balance for as long as you can and with every exhalation, try to bring the knees wide apart and the heels and toes close to each other.

  • Seated Cat Cow Pose Combined (Upavistha Bitilasana Marjaryasana) Seated Cat Cow Pose (Upavistha Bitilasana Marjaryasana): Seated in Dandasana, fold your legs bending at the knees and sit in Siddhasana (Sukhasana with palms on knees). Now move your abdominal area including lower back inwards and outwards with coordinated breathing. Inhale expand the tummy, hold the knees and push the chest and neck out and look up. As you exhale, pull the tummy in taking the spine curved downwards and lock the abdomen area and curl the chest and the shoulders and look inside locking the neck. Repeat this process of inhalation and exhalation to strengthen abdominal muscles. The strength of the abdominal muscles will be used during the practice of Malasana.

  • Parivrtta Malasana (Revolved Garland Pose) Parivrtta Malasana (Revolved Garland Pose): This can be considered as the first stage to Malasana. Seated on your feet with knees wide apart, twist the shoulders and the chest towards the right and bring the left arm around the left leg from inside out. Grab the left hand from behind with the right arm and gaze towards the right. Release and repeat it on the opposite side. Parivrtta Malasana will help in opening the ankles and the knees without putting too much pressure on the hips.

Garland Pose Yoga Sequence Relaxing Follow-up Poses

Some poses to follow right after Malasana to relax the legs and back are:

  • Dandasana (Staff Pose, Stick Pose) Dandasana (Staff Pose): Soon after completing Malasana, sit on the floor and stretch the legs out completely in front of you and keep the spine straight. The legs should be loose and the shoulders and the neck relaxed. Close your eyes and take few breaths here and bring the entire body to relax.

  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold Pose) Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold Pose): From Dandasana bring the feet close to you and bring the body up placing the palms on the floor. Take the entire spine up and bring the face close to the knees and stretch the legs without bending the knees. The stretch at the calves and the hips should be good soon after Malasana and completes the pose well too and you are ready for the next pose!

After relaxing in Uttanasana, you could repeat the yoga pose Malasana and stay longer this time and feel the connection with the body along with your breath.

Garland Pose Yoga Sequence Level Up Follow-up Poses

To take the practice deeper there are some wonderful variations of Malasana which will help in taking the stretch in the legs and the abdominal area one step deeper.

  • Pasasana (Noose Pose) Pasasana (Noose Pose): After the practice of Malasana, continue seated with the feet together and bring the knees together too, placing the hands on the floor besides you to take balance. Inhale and raise the upper chest and shoulders up and twist them towards the right and place the left elbow on the outside of the right knee. Exhale completely here, and as you get comfortable, bring the palms in Anjali Mudra or Namaste and turn the head and neck gazing to the side or back, whichever is comfortable. Release and repeat with the left side taking the chest and the shoulders towards the left. This pose goes deeper into balancing the body. Pasasana also pushes the thighs closer to the body to strengthen the abdominal organs.

  • One Legged Insect Pose (Eka Hasta Bhujasana) One Legged Insect Pose (Eka Hasta Bhujasana): After repeated practicing of Malasana, the body could be ready to try One Legged Insect Pose. Here seated with legs stretched out in front of you, bend your left knee and place the foot close to you stretching the right leg out. Inhale and as you lift the left leg up support the left thighs by placing the left hand close to the left knee and exhale and try and bring the entire leg above or close to the left shoulder. Taking a few moments, bend forward a bit to place the leg comfortably on the shoulder and come up again placing the left palm on the floor close to the left inner thighs. With the right palm placed on the outside of the right thigh, slowly raise the body from the floor balancing on both the wrists and keep the spine straight. Exhale once in the pose and begin slow breathing taking the energy from the abs and hold on to the pose. Make sure the right leg is stretched out in front and the left leg remains bent at the knee. Release and repeat with the other shoulder and other leg.

Garland Pose Breath Awareness

 (Garland Pose)

No asana can be or should be practiced without having awareness of the breath. The movement of the body is smooth if the breathing is connected along. So here is how the breathing is done in Malasana.

  • Inhale and go down from simple standing pose bending your knees and exhale seated on your feet completely.
  • Inhale and expand the chest and shoulders out, bring the arms from inside and place them in front of you on the floor. Exhale completely here and stay here for a few breaths.
  • Now inhale again and push the tummy deep inside and take the entire body forward bringing the arms around your legs and exhale completely.
  • Inhale again and stretch the shoulders and chest deeper down and take the arms around the legs and reach for the finger from behind and interlock them, exhaling completely.
  • Begin normal slow breathing and with every exhalation take the arms deeper backwards and squeeze the lower abdomen towards the floor pushing the pelvis.
  • Inhale again and release the arms along with the shoulders and the chest and exhale as you come up. Place the palms on the floor and sit on the floor stretching the legs out completely with exhalation and bring the spine at ease.
  • Relax the entire body with normal breathing and let the body be loose.

Garland Pose Yoga Sequences

List of yoga sequences with Garland Pose:

Garland Pose Titles in English and Sanskrit

Many yoga poses have multiple titles because of differences in their Sanskrit to English title translation or a specific title becoming popular because of it's common usage amongst yoga teachers and yoga practitioners. Below are common titles of Garland Pose:

  • Garland Pose
  • Malasana
  • Upavesasana
  • Wide Squat Pose
  • Sitting Down Pose

Garland Pose Sanskrit

Garland Pose sanskrit title is Malasana

Please click on the link below to listen to Sanskrit pronunciation of Malasana (Garland Pose):
Sanskrit audio pronunciation for  Malasana Play Sanskrit audio pronunciation for Malasana

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