Mala means necklace or garland so the direct translation of this posture from Sanskrit is garland posture. However, most English-speaking yoga teachers refer to this pose as squat pose.
Benefits of Malasana
- Strengthens the calves, feet and legs.
- Relieves constipation and menstrual cramps (due to the activation of Apana and Samana Vayu).
- Improves lower back pain.
- Those suffering from knee, hip, pelvic, low back or ankle pain should begin with modifications.
- Start in mountain pose or standing forward fold.
- Exhale and lower your seat toward your heels to come into a squat position. Your feet can be flat or you can lift your heels.
- Engage your bandhas and feel how they support the natural curves of the lower back and neck.
- Feel the shoulders are wide on both the front and the back side of the body.
- Feel your lower trapezius muscles engage, encouraging your shoulder-blades to slide down your back.
- Allow your tailbone to stick out behind you. In order to be in neutral spine, your shoulders will be in front of your hips. Neutral spine is the most natural, healthy position of the spine in squat pose.
- Your gaze is soft as it reaches out toward the horizon.
- Relax your shoulders, neck, head, and face.
- Feel your lungs breathing deeply and your heart beating in your chest.
- Find a perfect point of balance between the front and the back sides of your body. This is supported by your Bandhas. Become deeply aware of this point of balance and rest into it.
- Place your hands on the mat and straighten your knees. Lift the torso back up to mountain pose.