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Garland Pose

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

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Sanskrit

Malasana
(mah-LAHS-anah)
mala = garland

BENEFITS

  • Stretches and opens inner thighs, groin muscles, achilles tendon, and low calf muscles
  • Stimulates digestive organs and metabolism
  • Balances sacroiliac joints
  • Strengthens abdominals

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Low back pathologies
  • Ankle, knee, or hip injury

HOW TO

  1. Start in Samasthiti (Prayer pose). Step the heels slightly wider than hip-distance apart and turn your toes toward the sides of your mat.
  2. Inhale and lift from the waist.
  3. Exhale and slowly begin to draw yourself down to the mat into a deep squat.
  4. Inhale and allow your spine to lengthen. Then draw your chest forward.
  5. Exhale and engage the elbows by pressing them to the inside of your knees. Press your palms together to create resistance.
  6. Hold this pose for up to 5-10 slow breaths.
  7. To exit, inhale and place your palms on the floor or knees for support. Exhale and release into a forward bend by pressing through the feet and leading with the tail bone. Turn your toes to face the front of your mat.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

Alternatives:

Modifications:

  • Utilize a block or bolster beneath your sitting bones for support.
  • Roll your mat under your heels to reduce the stretch in the back of the ankles.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

TEACHING CUES

  • Keep the upper and lower spine lengthened.
  • Press your palms together to create resistance and deepen the posture.
  • Lengthen through the top of your crown and sink your tailbone toward the floor.
  • On each inhale, feel your chest expand and spine lengthen. On each exhale, feel your hips sink deeper.

VARIATIONS

  • Bind the arms around the knees by reaching the torso through the thighs with arms extended in front of you. Draw your knees into your under arms. Scoop your arms around and reach for the back of the heels or fingertips/palms to the floor.

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Knee pain or strain
  • Hip pain or strain
  • Low back pain