Garland Pose - Malasana

Garland Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska


Garland Pose or Malasana is a very basic pose and should come naturally to all. But with modern comfort and habits, the simple bending of the knee and sitting on our feet has become a great challenge to most of us. Malasana brings back the most simple way of using the lower back and the knees to squat on the floor which otherwise should come naturally.

Garland Pose works wonders on the digestive organs and this is done by the simple method of sending apana (one of the five vital Vayus as per Yoga) downwards and thus bringing a strong Muladhara (one of the Chakras in the human body as per Yoga Sutras), which is the root of the spine.

Garland Pose is considered a base pose as garland pose variations can be derived from this pose. Garland Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Come to stand at the top of your mat with your arms alongside your body. Step your feet about as wide as your mat with the toes pointed outwards slightly. Engage the belly by gently bring your bellybutton up and back towards the spine.
Step 2
Bring the hands to heart center in prayer position, bend the knees and come into a squat. If the heels lift off the earth you can fold up your mat or put a blanket underneath them. Shift your weight slightly back into the heels. Modifications: If you have really tight hips and can’t come into this posture fully, you can come to seated on a block and still get the host of benefits.
Step 3
Draw the shoulder blades down the back and away from the ears. The triceps come to the inside of the knees as they push into one another. This will help you to lengthen the spine. Tailbone reaches down towards the earth as the crown of the head reaches up.
Step 4
To release, bring the fingertips down to the earth as you gently start to straighten the legs to come into Uttanasana (Standing forward fold).

Benefits and Contraindications


Increases flexibility of hips

Stretches groins

Strengthens and tones pelvic floor

Strengthens thighs, knees, shoulders, arm and neck

Strengthens digestive system Improves circulation and energy

Massages internal organs

Lengthens spine and tones spinal nerves



Knee problems

Photo poses in different angles

Modifications and Props

Like many yoga poses, the garland pose can be modified.

  • Place a folded blanket under your heels for support if it’s difficult to keep them on the ground.
  • You can also sit on a couple of blocks if it’s hard to squat.
  • For balance, touch your fingertips to your yoga mat or hold the back of a chair.
  • If you experience knee pain try using a prop to support the insides of your knees. Roll a blanket, towel, or sticky mat and place it in the crease of both knees. As you lower into the pose, make sure the prop stays behind your knees. If your knees still hurt, try practicing with your lower back resting against a wall. Don’t stay in the pose if your knees continue to hurt, even with the prop or wall.
  • If you are stiff in the groins and have trouble bending forward try sitting on a low bench or crate. Make sure it’s stable, bring the chest close to the thighs, then open the knees and extend the chest farther down. This will help you to relax your groins. You can modify the height accordingly for your leg length. Do not sit higher than you need to, but explore your limits. The idea is to remove tension from the groins.

Women who are pregnant and those who need help balancing have a few options:

  • Rest both hands on the back of a chair.
  • Rest one hand along a wall to the side of the body.
  • Do the pose with your back against a wall.

Experienced students may step their feet completely together or drape the torso between the legs:

  • Reach both arms forward, then bend the elbows and bring the shins into the armpits.
  • Extend the arms behind your body and clasp the heels.
  • Drop the forehead to the mat.

Technical Tips

Root and ground foot soles into floor. Turn the feet slightly outward. Lift pelvic floor and lower belly. Bend knees and lower the tail towards the ground. When squatting, lean back into the heels. Tuck the chin, bringing tail and head into one line. Use the elbows to open the knees wider and lift upwards from head crown to lengthen the spine and open the chest.

When lifting up from the pelvic floor, imagine the lower belly to be a round bowl of jelly. Cradle the bowl with pelvic and abdominal muscles. To add length to neck, imagine sliding the ears back.

Practicing Garland Pose can be a great way to challenge your balance and loosen tight hips. It might be difficult at first, but with practice, your muscles will lengthen and you will be able to squat. Keep the following in mind when practicing this pose:

  • Avoid jerking, pulling, pushing, or forcing any movement in this pose. Let your movements be slow and smooth.
  • Do not bounce your hips up and down. Doing so can overstrain your knees and hip flexors.
  • Keep shifting your weight back into your heels.
  • Lengthen the front of your torso and keep your spine long, not rounded.

Frequently Asked Questions

Modifications & Variations

  • Garland Pose With Partner
  • Garland Pose Hands On Chair
  • Garland Pose Hands On Heels
  • Garland Pose Hands Forward
  • Garland Pose with a blanket under your heels
  • Garland Pose sitting on a block
  • Garland Pose against a wall

Top Follow-Up Poses

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings. After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva. To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics. Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga. At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.