The Garland : Squat (MALASANA)
Type : Sitting
Justification : Hip Opener
Physical Benefits : Opens the hips, back torso and groins. Stretches the achilles tendons. Strengthens ankles and feet. Tones the belly.
Therapeutic Benefits : Activates digestive system and aids in digestion. Alleviates constipation. Strengthens metabolism. Ideal for pre-natal yoga.
Limitations : Knee or lower back injuries.
How To Practice : Standing inmountain pose(Tadasana), step your feet a bit wider than your hips. Bend your knees and lower your hips to the ground coming into a squat. If your heels don’t touch the floor, place a folded blanket under them. Let your knees widen so that you can snuggle your torso in between them. Pressing both palms together in prayer salutation
(Anjali Mudra), use the back of the upper arms and elbows to push against the inner knees in order to lengthen the front torso. Try bringing your hands flush against the sternum and your forearms parallel to the floor. Move your buttocks further towards the floor keeping your spine straight and your shoulders rolled away from your ears. If you feelpressure in your knees, slide a folded blanket into the crease behind the knees and then execute the posture. Breath 5 deep breaths. To come back, unfold, straightening the legs into a Forward Fold (Uttanasna). Repeat 3 times. If you want to intensify the posture, try clasping your heels with your fingers to lengthen the torso even more. This will broaden the collarbones and open the spine even more. Lower the head to the floor if possible. You can use a blanket or a bolster if your head does not touch the floor.
Tips : If your having trouble finding your balance, you can place a brick under the buttocks or even try doing this posture with your back against the wall.