Malasana is natural position which children often choose to sit in. In cultures where we habitually sit on chairs, the brain learns to set shorter muscle lengths in the legs and we stiffen up around the ankles knees and hips. It may take a little practice to reset a longer acceptable muscle length in the brain. Practice and things change.
class plan strip
Garland Pose - step by step
Step 1 From Mountain Pose, step the feet a short distance apart, with the toes pointing out towards the side walls. Have the knees soft. Extend both arms straight out in front of you and clasp the right wrist with the left hand. Start to hinge forward at the hips as you bend the knees.
Step 2 Return to the starting position and lower a few times, moving with your breath. Notice how your hips, knees and ankles are feeling. Make little adjustments to the width of your stance or the angle your feet are pointing out, to find the place were you feel most comfort and freedom of movement.
Step 3 The next time you lower, see if you can come all the way down to a squat. If it's available to you, lower your heels on the floor if you can.Reach the arms forward to assist in leaning the torso forward, so you don't fall backwards.
Step 4 Press your elbows against your inner knees, bringing your palms to together in Prayer Position. Press the knees and elbows softly together. Lengthen through the front of the torso.
Step 5 Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then inhale, push down evenly through the feet, straighten the knees, return to standing in Mountain Pose, or lower all the way down onto the floor and come into a sitting position.
Strengthens and brings flexibility to ankles
Increases mobility in the hips
Stretches back muscles
Soothes some causes of backache
Keep the knees pressed back, so they don't drop in towards one another.
Distribute the weight as evenly as you can between both legs and feet.
Engage the buttocks, thighs and lower legs evenly.
To go further into the pose, you can explore pressing your inner thighs against the sides of your torso. Reach your arms forward, then swing them out to the sides and nestle your shins into your armpits. Press your finger tips to the floor, or reach around the outside of your ankles and clasp your back heels.
Low back, hip or knee or ankle issues If squatting is difficult, sit on the front edge of a chair seat, thighs forming a right angle to your torso, heels on the floor slightly ahead of your knees. Lean your torso forward between the thighs.
If your heels don't lower all the way down to the ground, it's fine to squat with your heels lifted. Or you can support them on a folded mat or blanket.
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