MALASANA - SQUAT
Malasana or the yogic squat comes naturally to Asians like me. People in the Far East and in the Sub-continent spend a lot of time sitting on the floor or squatting. These days, city people, like my fellow Bangkokians, spend most of their days sitting on office chair or in a car, but when at home, many will still sit comfortably on the floor. Malasana not only stretches your inner groin, strengthens the legs and ankles, and lengthens the spine, but also improves circulation to the prostate gland (in men!) and ovaries (in women) and tones the pelvic floor muscles. Here is an informative bit of toilet reading: Nine Benefits of Squatting in Toilet.
- Start by warming up with a few rounds of Sun Salutation.
- Stand with your feet wider than hip width. Breathe out and fold into standing forward bend with the knees bent deeply until you can get your hands on the floor.
- Turn your toes out and lower your bottom down into the squat with your knees pointing in the same direction as your 2nd and 3rd toes. If your heels lift off the floor, put some blankets under them so that you can ground your heels down.
- Your elbows are on the inside of the knees. Press your palms together as you press the elbows out against the knees. This will help you to connect to your core.
- Draw the pelvic floor and lower belly in and up. Use your out-breath to curl your tailbone down. The spine will round out a little.
- Keep grounding into the feet. Begin to wave the spine long from the tail to the crown, lift the chest up away from the hips, and slide your ears back (not tilting the head up) to bring the head in line with the spine.
- VIsualise a golden sun in the centre of the pelvic bowl. When you breathe out, wrap your pelvic floor, lower belly and all muscles in the pelvic bowl around the golden sun and lift it up towards the heart. When you breathe in, first fill the chest and the upper back, and then let the breath move down into the upper belly, the lower belly, allowing the golden sun to move back down, and release the pelvic floor muscles.
- Try folding forward in your squat or try twisting by pressing one elbow more strongly against the inner thigh while spinning the chest in the opposite direction and raising the opposite arm (as in the little picture above).