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Malasana – Garland Posture

Mal-asana is one of the poses which almost all humans before the invention of the modern toilet would have been able to do. And actually, the meaning of this also pose points us in the same direction.

A clarification: Because of the name of the asana in a language (Sanskrit) which people are not used to, confusion has arisen between Mal-asana and Mala-asana. Mal (मल) and Mala (माला) are two different words; Mal means feces and Mala means garland

So yes the Mal-asana is that posture in which people poop (at least still in many parts of India :D)

Whereas Mala-asana is the Real Garland pose. In this pose you squat down with both feet together, spread your knee apart and bring your torso in between the knees, head as close to the ground as possible. Then wrap your arms around the knee and clasp your hands together (like a garland around you). A variation would be to use a belt behind your back to hold on to if you cannot reach it. This is an advanced posture. (see sketch below).

Mala-asana, the real garland pose

In this post, we will discuss the Mal-asana.

This is one of the poses which you should definitely work towards if you are not able to do it. This works on the hips and ankle flexibility. This can also be used as a resting pose (lots of people in the villages in India can be found sitting and chatting in this pose)

There could be two reasons why people might not be able to do this pose, tight hips or tight ankles, or both. If the ankles are tight then the knee would not be able to move forward to balance, and you would feel like if you go down more you would fall back. To counter this problem you can put something under the heel so that it is higher and you can achieve a full range of motion in the hips. Here I have put my heel on a plank of wood.

Variation 1- heel up higher

malasana variation, heel lifted up

To get deeper into those tight hips muscles keep your elbow on the knee, press the elbow on the knee, and use that power to straighten your back (imagine you are working towards arching your back a bit)

The next variation will help you to increase the ankle flexibility a bit faster. Here you hold some weight with your hands (I am holding 5kg dumbells) to balance the weight on the front and the back. Press the elbow onto the knee and use that power to straighten your back. Work on leaning forward to work on those ankles.

Variation 2- Weights on hand

malasana variation, weight on hand

Ideally in both, the above variations try to keep the feet parallel to each other but if you feel it in the knee then you can rotate the foot slightly out to a position where your knees are more comfortable.

Follow the steps below to get into the full version of Mal-asana. This pose is also sometimes known as the Namaskar asana or the Yogi squat.

Malasana – Full version



  • Start in Samasthiti (equal standing posture), with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart. Twist the toes slightly outwards (you can also keep the feet parallel to each other if your knee is alright in that position).
  • Exhale, bend your knees deeply, sinking down until your hips are lower than your knees, a few inches off the floor. If it is not possible to do this keeping your feet flat on the ground place a folded blanket under your heels.
  • Inhale, bring your palms together in the center of your chest, and place your elbows in front of your knees.
  • Exhale, and deepen the stretch by opening your shoulders and pressing against the knees.
  • Avoid rounding the back, push the chest forward.
  • To exit out of the pose, either sit back onto your buttocks and extend the legs in front of you or stand back up and return to Samasthiti (equal standing posture).


  • Stretches the groin, hip muscles, and the ankle joint
  • Improves digestion and relieves constipation
  • Recommended for pregnant women, to help prepare for normal labor.
  • Loosens the hip joints.


  • Knee injuries
  • Ankle injury

Looking for more postures? check our Yoga asana library.