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.