In Sanskrit, 'mala' is often translated into “garland” and malasana translates to Garland pose, also known as relieving pose or yoga squats.
Malasana is well-known for stretching the ankles, lower hamstrings, groins, and back torso as well as strengthening the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, calf muscles, core, and the lower back. The asana also invites many other physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. Here are three important reasons to practice Malasana today!
1. Fosters Connection to Tradition
From traditional Indian heritage, garlands play a significant role in Hindu festivals. Garlands of different flowers and leaves as well as other items decorate various deities. Additionally, mala beads hold spiritual energy and are helpful aids to keep count during mantra practice.
Malasana is named after this rich history because of the asana’s meditative benefits and provides space to foster connection to tradition. Malasana calms the mind, body, and spirit. Intentional focus on devotion and gratitude while practicing Malasana can be done through chanting mantras or gently bowing the head.
2. Nurtures Healthy Hips
As Shakira says, hips don’t lie. The hips tell the story of modern industrialized life that requires sitting at a 90-degree angle. As a result, the health of body suffers. Specifically, spine health is impaired and back pain increases.
Compared to standing, sitting leads to 40-90% more stress on the back and a flattening of the lumbar (lower) region of the spine.
Malasana helps ease the hips open and increase mobility in the hips, legs, and back. The hips are a common dwelling place for stifled and intense emotions, so helping unlock and open the hips can provide much needed emotional release as well as improve balance of the mind, body, and spirit.
Lastly, because the body is closer to the floor (specifically the first chakra/muladhara which is associated with safety and trust) in Malasana, the asana has a powerful grounding quality.
3. Aids in Eliminating What No Longer Serves You
This pose is poop-tastic! This asana is sometimes known as relieving pose because of the biomechanics of the body. The body has a sling of fibers which make up the puborectalis muscle. That muscle aids in continence or self-control of bodily functions.
Malasana has multiple parts in helping aid elimination. It aids digestion by stimulating the metabolism and digestive organs while also toning the belly muscles. And it helps relax the internal organs and muscles, including the puborectalis muscle.
Additionally, the calming and grounding effects of Malasana aid in eliminating negative thoughts and energy from the spirit.
These are just three important reasons to practice Malasana today. Feel free to share other reasons in the comments below. Happy Practicing!