In our often sedentary Western culture, we find ourselves sitting—in cars, at desks, in front of the TV. A sedentary lifestyle means we lose suppleness and strength in the legs and flexibility in the calves, ankles, and outer hips. The abdomen and lower back muscles also suffer because backrests allow us to neglect our core muscles. Enter, malasana.
Malasana, or Garland Pose, is a yogi's squat. This pose allows you a complete range of leg-motion by bending the knees fully until the pelvis is resting at the back of the heels. Practicing Malasana will help you tone and strengthen the legs while improving back and core stability. Squatting is also believed to help with digestion: As the pelvis descends, you encourage the downward flowing energy of apana vayu, which, according to some yoga traditions, helps the body eliminate waste and clear the mind.
Tone and strengthens legs
Improves flexibility in calves, ankles, and outer hips
Strengthens back and core muscles
Aids with digestion and elimination
NOTES FOR SUCCESS
To learn to squat or if you are pregnant:
Separate your feet about 6 to 8 inches, and place a folded blanket under your heels until you are able to lower your pelvis and maintain balance.
To maintain your balance:
Squat in front of a wall or piece of furniture and reach forward to hold it for support.
To take pressure off your knees:
Place a folded blanket behind the back of your knees and then squat.
To ease lower back pain:
Place a thinly folded blanket on the front of your thighs and reach your palms forward while extending the lumbar spine.
If you have questions or would like feedback on your pose, please ask your Let It Be YOGA instructor for assistance.