Grounding in Malasana

This entry was posted on Mar 13, 2015 by Charlotte Bell.

Use a Wedge to Root in Malasana

In India, where Yoga began, squatting is a go-to pose for many of life’s daily tasks. Before there were chairs, counters and tables, women squatted on the ground to prepare and cook meals. Some still do.

Malasana supports apana, the downward-flowing energy that governs elimination. Apana energy grounds agitation, making Malasana a great counterpose for stress. Malasana also relieves constipation. In addition, it stretches the ankles, groins and lower legs, and tones the abdomen and pelvic floor.

Some people don’t enjoy Malasana because their heels don’t reach the floor, making the pose feel unstable. This is because every person’s skeletal structure is different. Most of the time placing your heels on the ground in Malasana has little to do with soft tissue flexibility. It usually depends instead on the range of motion in your ankle joints. If your ankle joints don’t naturally flex much past 90 degrees—which is well within the parameters of normal range of motion—elevating them on a Foam or Cork Yoga Wedge will allow you to ground your heels and feel more stable.

To find out more about Malasana’s origins, benefits and practice, read this post.

How to Practice

  • Start by squatting on a Yoga Mat with your feet hip-width apart and parallel. Let your heels descend toward the floor. If they don’t reach, place a wedge under your heels so that they are evenly grounded.
  • Spread your heels, balls of your feet and your toes, grounding evenly across your feet.
  • Widen your legs so that your torso fits snugly in between your thighs.
  • Place your hands in Anjali Mudra (Prayer Position). Take five to ten deep breaths to settle into the pose.

For more ideas on how to use a Yoga Wedge, visit our Yoga Props Guide.

4 responses to “Grounding in Malasana”

  1. Bethany Lee says:

    Hi Charlotte, I love reading your posts here on Hugger Mugger. I have a question. I teach a yoga class where we are using our hands and shoulders a lot. For instance, we go into reverse table top, raising our hips and bring our hips back between our arms. You might know it as one of the moves in the five Tibetans. Anyways, many of my clients have problems with that one (among others) because it hurts their wrists. Would a wedge be safe to use in this one?

    • Bethany, you might want to try a wedge for your students whose wrists bother them. Just be aware that using a wedge will throw the weight forward a bit. So it would be a good idea to tell them to move into it gradually so that they can adjust their balance as they go. Does this make sense?

  2. Rajesh says:

    It was nice reading your post. I will surely follow your instructions. Thanks.

  3. Thanks, Rajesh! Let me know how it works for you.

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About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.