Malasana, garland pose, is the yogis answer to the traditional squat. It strengthens the legs, releases the lower back and has a powerful grounding effect.
The hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles all work together to actively bring the knees into a deep fold while the arms press into the thighs to lengthen the spine.
Malasana feels wonderful after any activity that involves many consecutive hours of standing or sitting. If you have any knee injury try a supported Malasana with your bum resting on a yoga block or low bench/chair.
Perhaps the biggest bonus is that Malasana is a compact pose - you can spot me practicing it in an empty corner of a store after a long day of shopping or at an airport after a flight.
Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Stand in mountain pose with your feet as wide as your hips, outer edges of the feet parallel.
Once you’ve established a strong connection of your feet to the ground you can step your feet out wide with the toes turned about 45 degrees out.
Inhale, lengthen your spine up to the ceiling.
As you exhale, activate the legs and begin to bend your knees into a squat.
Wiggle your arms between your thighs and bring the palms together in front of the heart centre.
Keep the weight evenly distributed across both soles of the feet and the upper arms pressing into the inner thighs. This will help create stability and space in the pose.
Stay for 5 breaths or longer.
To come out of the pose, press down into the feet and stand.