Malasana

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Maalaasana (Sanskrit: मालासन; mālāsana; "Garland Pose")|[1] .[2] Mālāsana is a yoga asāna that involves a low squat and supposedly resembles a rosary, or garland.

Etymology[edit]

Mālā (माला) f. a wreath, garland, crown ; a string of beads, necklace, rosary. Asāna (आसन) n. sitting, sitting down; sitting posture. Extended also to describe non-seated poses in postural yoga.

The asana is named either for one of the two hoops the body creates (one with the legs and one with the arms), or for its use as a meditation pose while reciting japa. A third possibility relates to the historic use of a circle of cloth wrapped around the legs to bind seated poses called a yogapaṭṭa. Iyengar suggests the name derives from the arms.

This name is often misapplied to the similar squatting pose upavesāsana in which the feet are apart and the spine upright. Thanks to this being a traditional method of using the bathroom in India, this leads to some confusion with the name. Hence we encounter a common western mistranslation of malāsana (with a short an instead of a long ā), indicating waste or defication pose. This seems to be a result of a reinterpretation of the pose in modern postural yoga.

Description[edit]

The asana is a squat with heels flat on the floor and feet together. The knees are spread apart and the torso is brought forward between the thighs, arms are wrapped beneath the knees and bound behind the body under the hips. Variations include grabbing the ankles or heels and lowering the head to the floor. The asana is used in earlier versions of the second series of Aṣṭānga Yoga as taught by Pattabhi Jois, in the Vinyāsa Krama of Srivatsa Ramaswami and the Aṣṭānga Vinyasa of B.N.S. Iyengar. It also appears in B.K.S. Iyengar's seminal book Light on Yoga.

Benefits[edit]

Mālāsana stretches the ankles, groins and back, tones the belly and can provide relief from lower back strain. Iyengar emphasizes its use for strengthening the belly and relieving lower back pain, especially related to menses.[3]

Additional Notes[edit]

James Mallinson points out The Śrītattvanidhi (a manual written some time before 1868 on yoga, iconography and a number of other subjects) depicts this pose as a variation on ṭiṭṭibāsana or bhujapidāsana where the legs hang over the shoulders with the feet potentially touching in front of the heart (appearing like a garland made of one's own legs).[4] A similar description also occurs in versions of The Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati.[5] This demonstrates the common occurrence of multiple poses sharing a single name across different traditions and can help explain how the name might have been misapplied to other common poses that lacked classical names such as upavesāsana. Hence it is very common for upavesāsana to be called mālāsana or even malāsana.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Iyengar, B. K. S. (1979). Light on yoga: yoga dipika. New York: Schocken Books. pp. 262–265. ISBN 0-8052-1031-8. 
  2. ^ Ramaswami, Srivatsa (3 June 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. p. 28. ISBN 978-1-56924-402-9. Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  3. ^ Iyengar, B. K. S. (1979). Light on yoga: yoga dipika. New York: Schocken Books. pp. 262–265. ISBN 0-8052-1031-8. 
  4. ^ Sjoman, N.E. (1999). The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace (2nd ed.). New Delhi, India: Abhinav Publications. p. 11. ISBN 81-7017-389-2. 
  5. ^ Dr. James Mallinson, personal communication, 2014

Further reading[edit]

  • Sjoman, N.E. (1999). The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace (2nd ed.). New Delhi, India: Abhinav Publications. p. 11. ISBN 81-7017-389-2. 

External links[edit]