Vyaghrasana: Tiger Pose
Vyaghrasana is a great core-strengthening pose in preparation for your practice. Lift your belly and hover opposite arm and leg to feel the foundational core strengthening for balancing and back bending poses.
- Blanket: For tender knees, place a blanket on the ground to add extra cushion.
- Wrist adjustment: For tender wrists, place your fist on the ground rather than a flat palm.
- Balance challenge: Lift and extend the corresponding arm and leg rather than the opposite.
- Begin in table top pose in the center of your mat, with hips directly over knees and shoulders over wrists.
- Keep your gaze down, neck in a neutral position.
- Shift your weight to your left hand and slowly extend your right hand forward, thumb toward the ceiling.
- Lift your naval up away from the ground and extend your right leg behind you, starting with toes touching the ground.
- Gently lift your right toes off the ground, extending the ball mound of your foot behind you.
- Draw your shoulder blades down your back and keep your hips level.
- Hold for 3-5 breaths then return to table top. Repeat on the other side.
- Vyaghra = tiger
- Asana = pose
- Stabilizes core muscles
- Prepares the body for backbends
- Can help improve balance
- Can help improve mental focus
- Thought to engage the solar plexus chakra
Malasana: Squat Pose or Garland Pose
A great stretch for ankles and the lower back, Malasana (mahl-AH-sana), which is also referred to as Squat or Garland pose, opens the groin and tones the belly. While comfortable for some, Malasana can be difficult for others. Appropriate adjustments and modifications can help students enjoy the benefits of this posture while strengthening and opening the muscles needed to practice Malasana and other postures.
Philosophy + Origin
There are many beautiful attempts to defend the translation of Malasana as “Garland Pose.” While mala most commonly refers to a garland or rosary, many students have a difficult time understanding how this imagery applies to the pose. Some teachers argue that the shape of the body depicts the bead on a mala, or perhaps the arms look like a mala or garland hanging from the neck. Other teachers will use the story of how this posture is traditionally taken when receiving the gift of a garland from a spiritual teacher. While all very poetic, there’s another lesser-known understanding of Malasana that makes more sense. The word mala can also be translated as excrement. Considering the digestive benefits of this posture, it makes a lot more sense.