My name is Alyssa Ward. I have been teaching as a yoga instructor at Clayton Yoga since 2010 after I received my 200-hour certification. I typically teach an open level Vinyasa flow class on Friday evenings from 4:30-5:30pm. I would love to have more students drop by and try out my class! I have previously written a blog post about pigeon pose. In this post, I will discuss garland pose, which in Sanskrit is called malasana.
I like garland pose because it is accessible to all levels. It can be modified by sitting on the edge of a chair if needed. If you are able to squat all the way to the floor, but the heels lift up off the mat, you can roll a mat underneath the heels for support. I like that this modification only requires a yoga mat because I can use it in my corporate classes where I typically do not have props available to practice with as well as in the studio.
To prepare for the pose, yoga journal suggests trying baddha konasana (butterfly) to open the hips and stretch the groin. It can be performed seated or supine (supta baddha konasana). You could also prepare for garland pose with upavistha konasana (dragonfly) or virasana (hero). After finishing garland pose, uttanasana is a good counter pose.
To get into the pose, come to a squat with the thighs wider than the torso, lean forward with the torso keeping the spine long, press the elbows into the inner knees and bring the palms together in prayer to open and lengthen the torso.
There are many benefits to garland pose. It helps to counteract the effects of sitting in beds, chairs, or cars for many hours at a time, like most of us tend to do. When we sit in chairs for hours, we often use poor posture and over time, we can lose mobility in our hips and back. Garland pose opens the hips. It strengthens the back torso, ankles, and groin muscles and tones the core. In addition, it is great for pregnancy. It helps to prepare for labor and delivery by opening the groin and hips and also aids in digestion. It can also be used during labor and even during delivery. In this pose, the birth canal is in an upright position for delivery enabling the baby to find its way out more easily. For labor, it can be modified using ropes or sitting against a wall.
While in garland pose, it is possible to add a twist, pressing one arm against the thigh as the other arm opens to the ceiling. If I am working on arm balances for a class, I often rest in garland pose before having students balance in crow. I think the transition between those two poses is very smooth.
Garland pose has many benefits, great for prenatal yoga, aids in digestion, and stretching the hips, finally strengthening the back torso, ankles, and core. I would suggest making garland pose (malasana) part of your practice.
Would you like to join us for a yoga class at Clayton Yoga? Everyone welcome. Please go to our website, www.claytonyoga.com, find a suitable class time, and feel free to simply stop by our studio. Life is a stretch!