Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Malasana is an asana in which the person performing the asana assumes the shape of a garland. Therefore it is called Malasana or Garland Pose. It is also called as Upaveshasana in Sanskrit which also means ‘to perform an asana in a squatting position’. This asana gives a good stretch to your lower back, thighs, hamstrings and groin and also strengthens the lower back, hips and digestive system.
Mala = Garland, Necklace, Squat
Asana = Pose, Posture
Preparation for Malasana
- Like other asanas (most), Malasana too should be done on empty stomach. One should therefore consume food 4-6 hours before beginning Malasana. The food would get digested in that time gap and also will provide you with good energy to perform the asana.
- Similarly one should also take care to keep the bowel and bladder empty. The toileting procedures should therefore be completed much before this asana is practiced.
- Malasana, for optimum benefits, shall be practiced in the early hours of the morning. In case one is not able to perform the asana in the morning due to pre-scheduled works, the asana shall be done in the evening times also.
Method of doing Malasana
Positioning for the Asana
- Start by placing yourself in the squatting position.
- As you do this, keep your feet closer to each other.
- See that your heels are placed on the floor or supported on the ground.
Performing and getting to the Garland Pose:
- After positioning yourself in a comfortable squat, spread your thighs out. Let the thighs be placed slightly wider than your torso.
- Exhale and lean forward such that your torso fits in between the space provided between both your thighs.
- Now bring your palms in Anjali Mudra / Namaskara Mudra, press your elbows against the inner part of your thighs. This will extend the front part of your trunk.
- Now press your inner thighs against the side of the torso.
- Next, stretch your arms out and swing them across such that your shins fit into your armpits.
- Hold your ankles.
Release from the asana and coming back to the point of start
- Hold yourself in this pose for few seconds, as far as you are comfortable with.
- Inhale and release from the pose.
Tips for Beginners
If you are not used to squat, it would be extremely difficult and painful to do the squat, especially if you are a beginner. In that case, you can seat yourself on the edge of the chair. Now let your torso make a right angle (90 degree) with your thighs. Place your heels on the floor such that they are placed ahead of your knees. Lean forward and bring your torso in between your knees. Doing this regularly will gradually will condition and prepare you to slowly learn and go into the squat.
Advanced pose (variation of Necklace pose)
- You need to intensify the stretch in your groins. To do this, you need to place one hand on the ground, on the insides of your feet and at the same time stretch out the opposite hand towards the sky (roof top). Twist and hold in position. Later, repeat the pose on the other side also.
Purva and Paschat Asanas
Purva Asanas (Preparatory Asanas)
Before Malasana, you can do one or more of the below mentioned Asanas –
- Baddha Konasana
- Upavishta Konasana
Paschat Asanas (Post-Malasana Poses)
After performing Malasana, one can perform –
- Adho Mukha Shwanasana
Duration, health benefits
What time should be spent in the pose while doing Squat pose?
One can stay in Malasana for a time period of 30-60 seconds at a stretch
Health Benefits of Malasana
- Malasana gives a good stretch to your hips, groin, sacrum and lower back.
- It increases the flexibility in your ankles and knee joints.
- The asana tones up your abdomen (belly, tummy)
- Malasana helps you in improving your posture
- Malasana helps in improvising the metabolism
- Malasana activates the digestive system, removes the digestive errors
Effect of Malasana – Ayurveda details:
Effect on Doshas
Effect of Malasana on Doshas and Subtypes
Malasana helps in balancing the Samana Vayu and Pachakapitta and hence kindles the agni, your power to digest the food easily. The metabolism improves; the health of the digestive system is restored. The errors of metabolism are removed. Malasana also provides a good remedy to digestive disorders.
Malasana also strengthens and balances the functions of Apana Vayu. This will help in strengthening the apana vayu zone, i.e. lower abdomen, pelvis and the related structures. The pelvis, hips, groin and lower back, the areas of apana vayu will get a boost of energy by regular practice of this asana. On the other hand, the stretch and strength obtained to the mentioned structures via Malasana will keep the apana vayu activated, motivated and healthy.
Effect on Dhatus
Effect of Malasana on Dhatus –
Malasana strengthens the mamsa dhatu (muscle tissue) and Asthi dhatu (bone tissue) especially in the sacral area, lower back and around the hips. The asana also activates stretches and strengthens the muscles of the belly, gives a good massage to the digestive organs of the abdomen and improves metabolism.
Effect on Malas
Effect of Malasana on Malas –
Since Malasana gives good stretch to abdomen and abdominal organs including the large intestine and rectum and also controls the functions of apana vayu, it helps in timely and proper excretion of stools and urine, keeps the body purified from time to time and provides health.
Malasana, what it promises!
Squatting looks easy but if you do not have practice of squatting you will feel it difficult to do it and it will also be painful. Squatting comes naturally to the kids since they have flexible muscles in that tender age. Similarly people working in the fields can squat easily because the nature of job they do on daily basis exposes them to the squatting pose everyday and they are trained to sit in that pose. The corporate and modern people who are limited to desk jobs will not have a practice to squat and will surely find doing the squat painful and uncomfortable. Malasana will help you get on the fear of squatting because it is the most beneficial pose for those who have sedentary lifestyle. This asana will not only open up their hips and lower back and strengthens and flexes them, it will remove the tightness in these structures. It will also open up the mind and senses and helps in self awareness. Thus, Malasana is a comprehensive body-mind exercise. This can be done even at work or at office, on the chair, making some minor adjustments. Once you are perfect, you will have a confidence of doing Malasana comfortably.
Malasana is a good work out exercise for your tummy, lower back and hips. It is a forward bend pose and thus softens the back. It also releases the stress and catches trapped from the head to the toe as the legs flex into a squat while doing this asana.
The heels ensure that your hips are rooted in the back even as the spine elongates while in the pose. Consequentially the feet are stretched and strengthened. This increases the mobility and flexibility in the hips. The back muscles get a good stretch and get broadened.
Malasana provides a rhythmic flow of awareness and energy throughout your body. You will experience this when you practice the asana on regular basis.
All the actions are coordinated well while doing this asana and ensured that no part is overworked. You will feel that each and every part of your body is expressing itself while doing Malasana.
Impact on Chakras
Malasana is a good asana which balances the second chakra i.e. Swadishtana Chakra or Sacral chakra. It provides a complimentary release to this chakra and invigorates a fresh energy in the region of this chakra i.e. lower abdomen and pelvis region including your hips. This chakra when activated and balanced by Malasana, governs the flow of creative, sexual and reproductive energy. It strengthens and relaxes the lower back, calves and gluteus muscles. It also helps enhance the metabolism and alleviate constipation.
Contraindications and precautions
Who should not do? (Contraindications and precautions for doing Malasana)
Patients suffering from below mentioned conditions should avoid doing Malasana –
- Knee injury
- Low Back injury
Just Before Finish
Malasana is one of the best poses to strengthen your lower back, lower limbs, pelvis, hips and groins. It will also help you get self awareness. Any time you feel fearful, tense, emotionally constipated or have the urge of controlling self in an effective way, just practice Malasana!
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