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For the area of Madrid in Spain, see Malasaña.
Mālāsana I, or "Garland Pose"[1]

The mālāsana, or "Garland Pose", is a term for a squatted yoga asana.[2][3] The term is being used for various asanas, all involving a squatted position, and the arms folded around the legs while holding the hands together at the back,[4][3] also called kanchyasana ("golden belt pose"),[3] or with the hands folded around the heels.[5]

The term is also used in English for the upavesasana, the "regular squat pose," in which the handpalms are folded together in the socalled namaskar mudra in front of the chest, and the feet are set wider apart,[web 1] which resembles the traditional defecating position.

The term mālāsana is also used in the Sritattvanidhi to describe the bhujapidasana, the "shoulder press",[6] in which the hands are placed at the bottom, the body balancing on the hands, and the legs resting on the shoulders.[7]


Upavesasana or Malasana
Mālāsana I[1]
Mālāsana II[1]

Mālāsana can be found in three slightly different Sanskrit spellings:

  • Sanskrit: मलसन, malasana (pronounce "ma-la-sa-na"[needs IPA]) - "Excretion Pose", "Relieving Pose", "Yoga Squat"[8]
  • Sanskrit: मलासन, malāsana (pronounce "ma-laa-sa-na"[needs IPA]), which would mean "Indian plum garland"[web 2]
  • Sanskrit: मालासन, mālāsana (pronounce "maa-laa-sa-na"[needs IPA]) - "Garland Pose"; according to Iyengar, the name mālāsana derives from the arms "hanging from the neck like a garland."[9]

The "a" may be pronounced either as /a/ or /aː/:[note 1]


The term mālāsana may refer to three different asanas:[web 1][2][7][9]


This asana is a squat with heels flat on the floor and hip-width apart (or slightly wider if necessary), toes pointing out on a diagonal. The torso is brought forward between the thighs, elbows are braced against the inside of the knees, and the hands press together in front of the chest in Añjali Mudrā.

The Yoga Journal says the malasana stretches the ankles, groins and back, tones the belly. It also cautions about using the asana when there are lower back or knee injuries.[web 6]


In the first variant, the feet are placed at the floor, one takes a squatted position, folds the hands around the heels, and touches the floor with the chin.[5][note 2]

In the second variant, the hands are folded together at the back, while the chin touches the floor.[10][web 1] This asana is also called kanchyasana ("golden belt pose"),[3]

The mālāsana can be used as a preparation for the bhujapidasana.[6]


The Sritattvanidhi, a 19th century book on yoga-asanas, gives a different picture for the mālāsana at plate no.44.[7] In this picture, the handpalms are placed flat on the floor, arm stretched upright, and the whole body balancing on the hands, while the legs are held close to the body, with the heels hanging down from a position close to the shoulders. This asana is also known as bhujapidasana,[11] the "shoulder press."[12][note 3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Shree Bindu Sewa Sansthan Ashram also gives the following interpretation:[web 3]
    • मल mala, pronounce "ma-la"[needs IPA] - excrement, shit
    • माला mālā, pronounce "maa-laa"[needs IPA] - garland, necklace, rosary
  2. ^ Iyengar mentions this as variant II.[5]
  3. ^ In this position, the arms are indeed "hanging from the neck like a garland,"[9] in contrast to Iyengar's squatting mālāsana, let alone the popular upavesasana.


  1. ^ a b c d Iyengar 2005.
  2. ^ a b Iyengar 1979, p. 261-267.
  3. ^ a b c d Ramaswami & Krishnamacharya 2005, p. 28.
  4. ^ Iyengar 1979, p. 261-266.
  5. ^ a b c Iyengar 1979, p. 266.
  6. ^ a b DiTuro & Yang 2012, p. 128.
  7. ^ a b c Sjoman 1999, p. 27.
  8. ^ & Gavalas 2003, p. 174.
  9. ^ a b c Iyengar 1979, p. 267.
  10. ^ Iyengar 1979, p. 262-266.
  11. ^ Iyengar 1979, p. 280-282.
  12. ^ Sjoman 1999, p. 40.


  • DiTuro, daniel; Yang, Ingrid (2012), Hatha Yoga Asanas: Pocket Guide for Personal Practice, Human Kinetics 
  • Gavalas, Elaine (2003), The Yoga Minibook for Longevity: A Specialized Program for a Healthier, Vital You, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0-7432-2699-8 
  • Iyengar, B.K. (1979), Light on Yoga, Unwin Paperbacks 
  • Ramaswami, Srivatsa; Krishnamacharya, T. (2005), The complete book of vinyasa yoga: an authoritative presentation, based on 30 years of direct study under the legendary yoga teacher Krishnamacharya, Da Capo Press, ISBN 978-1-56924-402-9 
  • Sjoman, N.E. (1999), The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace, Abhinav Publications 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]