Yoga Squat Pose Benefits and How to do Malasana
Incorporating yoga into your daily routine is a great way to improve your overall health and well-being. The Yoga Squat Pose (Sanskrit name Malasana), also known as the Garland Pose or Yogi Squat, is one of the many yoga asanas that offer a wide range of physical and mental benefits. Whether you’re new to yoga or have been practicing for years, the Yoga Squat Pose is a foundational pose in any yoga practice and is an essential yoga asana to include in your daily routine.
How To Do the Yoga Squat Pose
1. Start by standing with your feet externally rotated and slightly wider than hip-width apart, your back straight, and your pelvis gently tucked.
2. As you exhale, squat down, pushing your tailbone towards the floor. Your knees are directly above the feet and moving in the same direction as your toes. You can broaden your stance to give the Squat more room. If your heels start to lift off the floor, stop the Squat there or do a modification, which we cover later in the article.
3. Now you are in the Squat, bring your hands together into your heart centre (Anjali mudra).
4. Hold this Yoga Squat position and begin deep breathing. Stay as long as you are comfortable. With practice, you’ll be able to squat deeper and stay longer.
The Yoga Squat Pose Benefits
Flexibility and Range of Motion
One of the most important Yoga Squat Pose benefits is that it helps to increase the flexibility and range of motion in the knee joint. Over time, the practice of Malasana Pose can improve overall flexibility in the lower body, making it easier to perform daily activities such as walking, running, and bending. In addition, this pose is beneficial for those who spend a lot of time sitting at a desk or in a car, as it helps to counteract the tightness in the hips and knees resulting from prolonged sitting.
Strengthening the Lower Body
In addition to increasing flexibility, the Yoga Squat Pose is a great pose for strengthening the lower body, including the abdominal, calf muscles, Achilles tendon and pelvic floor muscles. Holding the squat position for several breaths adds pressure to these muscles, helping to improve their strength over time. This pose is particularly beneficial for those who suffer from lower back pain or weak core muscles, as strengthening the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles can help to support the lower back and prevent future pain.
Another significant benefit of the Yoga Squat Pose is that it helps to stimulate the digestive system and root chakra (Sanskrit name Muladhara). When you perform this pose, you apply gentle pressure to the lower abdominal organs, encouraging the digestive system to work more efficiently. This pose can help to relieve constipation and other digestive issues, making it a great addition to your daily routine if you struggle with digestive problems.
Relieving Low Back Pain
Low back pain is a common issue for many people, and the Yoga Squat Pose is a great way to relieve this pain. The deep squat position helps to stretch the lumbar spine and relieve pressure on the lower back. Additionally, the squat position strengthens the abdominal muscles, helping to support the lower back and prevent future pain. If you suffer from low back pain, incorporating the Yoga Squat Pose into your daily routine can help to reduce your pain and improve your overall quality of life.
Stretching Tight Hip Flexors
Tight hip flexors are a common problem in western culture due to the time we spend sitting. The Yoga Squat Pose is a great way to stretch the hip flexors and help them to return to their natural position. In addition, the deep stretch in the hips helps to loosen tight hip joints, reducing the risk of knee injury and improving overall mobility. If you spend a lot of time sitting or have tight hips, this pose is a great way to counteract the adverse effects of prolonged sitting and improve your overall flexibility.
More Yoga Squat Pose Benefits : Modifications and Variations
Incorporating a Yoga Block
For pregnant women or those who lack the strength to perform the full squat depth, incorporating a yoga block or bolster into your practice can be helpful. Placing the block under the heels allows you to maintain a 90-degree angle in the knee while reducing the strain on the lower back. In addition, the Yoga block is beneficial for those new to yoga or who have limited mobility, as it allows you to practice the pose with extra support safely and effectively.
Prayer Pose (Anjali Mudra)
To complete the yoga squat pose, bringing your hands to your heart center in the prayer position (Sanskrit name Anjali Mudra) is essential. This mudra helps to create a sense of balance and grounding, making the yoga prayer squat pose an excellent pose for the beginning or end of your yoga practice. To perform Anjali Mudra, bring your hands together at your heart center, palms touching, and fingers pointing toward the sky. Simultaneously, your shoulder blades move toward each other.
Breathing Techniques (Pranayama)
Incorporating proper breathing techniques (Sanskrit name Pranayama) into your yoga practice can enhance the benefits of the yoga squat pose. Try to coordinate your breath with your movements to deepen the stretch in the hips and legs. For example, as you sink into the squat position, inhale deeply. Then, as you hold the squat, exhale deeply, feeling the space in the hips and legs. Repeat this pattern for several breaths, allowing the deep breaths to guide your movements.
Counter Yoga Squat Poses
After performing the yoga squat pose, it is essential to balance out the body with counter poses. Counter poses help to prevent any over-stretching or strain on one side of the body and can help to maintain proper alignment. Some typical counterposes to the yoga squat include the Forward Fold and the Mountain Pose.
Forward Fold (Uttanasana Pose)
The forward (Sanskrit name Uttansana) fold is a great way to stretch the backs of the legs and release tension in the spine. Start with standing with your feet hip-width apart to perform the forward bend. Next, hinge at the hips and fold, reaching your hands towards your feet or the floor. Make sure to keep your knees slightly bent to prevent any strain on the back. Hold this yoga posture for several breaths, feeling the stretch in the backs of the legs.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana Pose)
The Mountain Pose (Sanskrit name Tadasana) is a standing pose excellent for strengthening the legs and grounding the body. To perform the Mountain Pose, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Ground through the feet, engaging the legs and pressing your tailbone towards the ground. Reach your arms towards the sky, lengthening through the spine. Hold this pose for several breaths, feeling the strength in the legs and a sense of grounding through the feet.
Yoga Squat Pose Precautions and Modifications
If you have any limitations or injuries, it is essential to modify the yoga squat pose accordingly. For those with knee injuries or pain, try using a yoga block or blanket under the back of the heels to reduce the strain on the inner knees. For those with low back pain, try using a yoga block or a folded blanket to support the low back, making sure to keep the back as straight as possible while performing the squatting position. If you have difficulty balancing in the squat, try using a wall or a chair for support.
The Yoga Squat Pose Benefits in a Nutshell
The yoga deep squat pose is a great way to stretch and strengthen the lower body. With yoga squat pose benefits ranging from an increased range of motion to improved digestion, it is an excellent pose to incorporate into your daily yoga practice. Whether you are looking to relieve low back pain, stretch tight hip flexors, or get a deep stretch in the inner thighs, the yoga squat pose is a great way to improve your overall well-being. So next time you attend a yoga class or chat with a yoga teacher, try the yoga squat pose and experience the many squat benefits of this pose for yourself.
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