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Yoga teacher with dogGarland Pose – Malasana- Deep Stretch Pose

Garland Pose is a great yoga pose for weight lifters to stretch. I love doing it to stretch in a squat workout or during yoga. It feels like it decompresses my spine after holding heavy barbell squats. I have been doing it for many years, so it does not offer me a deep stretch. It is almost like a rest pose now. That is a good goal since people in India and Asia use this as a resting seated pose for hours every day. Most westerners can not even get into the pose, and if they can they can only hold it for 30 seconds. Do we want to do garland pose when we are able to try or one day be an elderly person who can not get in and out of a chair without help?

In Tantra Yoga, This pose helps relieve tension in the sacral and hip area to get energy moving. It is said to help increase sexual energy in everyone due to how it relieves tension compressed around the sex organs, lower back, and hips. You may notice more of this benefit if you are skilled in breath work or Qi Gong/Tai Chi.

A deep squat requires flexibility of the ankles, knees, spine, and hips.

Contradictions to this pose are recent knee surgeries or injuries. However, it does help stretch and strengthen the knees for those without major problems. Everyone should attempt this pose even if they are only squatting a few inches, and holding onto something for balance or support. Pregnant women probably want to skip this pose.

How to:¬†Start by getting into the pose from standing. Spread your legs slightly wider than hip width with toes pointed halfway out. Everyone’s body is different, so your toes may need more in or out. Do what feels best for you. Squat down as low as you can go. Hopefully, you are able to sit slightly resting on your calves.The knees should point out. Placing your hands in prayer pose and elbows above your knees will help lengthen your spine and push your knees outwards (the elbows can also be resting in front of the shins like the image as long as your back is straight). Stay here for as long as comfortable. You can tilt your chin slightly down if you desire a neck stretch as well. Come out by standing or sitting.

In garland pose, if you have tight calves or weak glutes then your heels will end up off of the ground. If they want to come in then you have tight inner thighs or glutes. Be mindful if you lean to one side because this can be because you are compensating for an injured knee or weaker leg. A curved back indicates a weak core, tight hip flexors, or just not paying attention to good posture. Do not worry too much about where your weaknesses are. Keep practicing this along with complementary stretches, and your body will get more flexible quick.