Happy Hump-asana Day: Malasana / Garland Pose

Since there never seems to be enough time in the day, I’m a real fan of time-saving tricks and finding extra help anywhere I can, especially when it comes to house chores [although I think I just need to hire Rosie]…

[now that’s my kind of housework!]

If I have downtime at work, I make outlines for articles, grocery lists, to-dos. I chat on the phone during commutes (hands-free, of course) and use wait time at appointments to delve into my latest reads. When I’m stuck at home waiting for Stanley Steamer [hypothetically, though, because I don’t have carpets], I throw in an extra load of laundry. While incessant multi-tasking can be unhealthy for the most part, the fit-little-things-in-here-and-there works for me.

Recently, I’ve incorporated the philosophy into my practice and into my teaching. The other day, I had a [fairly obvious] revelation in the middle of standing forward fold: let gravity do some work! I said something like, “get a little help from your friend gravity here” – a cheesy attempt to pay homage to The WonderYears’ theme song and also a subconscious regurgitation of something my teacher has said. It was like Sir Isaac Newton stood before me revealing this awesome force I knew about but hadn’t articulated before [it was Newton, right?]. While you’re there in forward fold, use gravity to your advantage!

In certain poses, using gravity for a little extra help is just like sporadically jotting down that grocery list. If  you can exert minimal effort into something that will ultimately reward you, do it. Write down what’s missing from your cabinets when you have a few extra minutes. Surrender to gravity while in forward fold and reap the benefits – every little bit helps!

So in light of using gravity to your advantage, today’s Hump-asana pose is one that allows plenty of opportunity for a gravity assist: Malasana or Garland pose.

Photo Credit: Yoga Journal

How to get there:

  1. Squat with your feet as close together as possible (Keep your heels on the floor if you can; otherwise, support them on a folded mat).
  2. Separate your thighs slightly wider than your torso. Exhaling, lean your torso forward and fit it snugly between your thighs.
  3. Press your elbows against your inner knees, bringing your palms to together in Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal), and resist the knees into the elbows. This will help lengthen your front torso.
  4. To go further, press your inner thighs against the sides of your torso. Reach your arms forward, then swing them out to the sides and notch 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.
  5. Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then inhale, straighten the knees, and stand into Uttanasana.

You can really use gravity to your advantage in this posture. Use the force [May 4th joke for all of you non-Star Wars nerds out there] to help open your hips. You can rock side to side if that helps soften and release the hip creases. Whatever you do, just surrender into the pose and reap the benefits. And while you’re there, salute Sir Isaac Newton. Thanks be to gravity!

Step-by-Step instructions compliments of Yoga Journal.

Happy Hump-asana Day, fellow yogis! Get your minds out of the gutter – Hump-asana Day, traditionally known as Wednesday or “Hump Day” in lamens/working-folk tongue, is a mid-week yogi treat. Hump-asana Day features a snippet of a pose worth spending some time exploring. And since they’re ALL worth exploring, we’ll never run out of poses for Hump-asana Day – rejoice!

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