Many of us are working from home right now, and for some, that means we’re spending even more time on our butts. Sure, we sit at the office, but at least things were more balanced with movement when we were commuting there and back. Nowadays (if you’re like me, anyway) you might be rolling out of bed and right to your work station, making nagging back and hip pain more of a problem than ever.
Luckily, you don’t have sit in agony any longer. Whether or not you’re into yoga, the practice boasts a few useful moves that can help fend off the pains of sitting for long periods. One such pose is called malasana, or yogi squat.
Malasana is a Sanskrit word that is translated as garland pose. It looks sort of like an ordinary squat, only your rear comes all the way down to nearly touching the ground. Holding a yogi squat has a ton of benefits, but it’s especially helpful for the muscles and tissues that become overworked and tired when we’re sitting for long periods of time.
Yogi squat requires some light contraction of the core, and therefore, is helpful for stimulating easy digestion. On top of that, it stretches the groin, hip flexors, and lower back so you can experience immediate relief of pain and stiffness in those areas. Malasana also helps to strengthen the ankles and the glutes, which tend to be weakened by excessive sitting.
To practice yogi squat, follow the instructions below:
- Begin standing, taking your feet out wide, toes splaying out slightly to the sides. If you are practicing on a mat, take your feet as wide as the mat. If you’re not, just take them out as far as is comfortable. You can always adjust later if needed.
- Engage your abs, pulling the lower belly muscles up and in towards your spine. This is what creates length in the vertebrae in your lower back! You don’t have to suck it in so you can’t breathe — a light contraction of the muscles is enough.
- Take your hands into a prayer position in front of your chest, and begin to lower all the way down, as far as you can go. Your butt should be nearing the floor. If your ankles are tight and your heels come up on the way down, roll up a towel and place them under the heels for support. The more you practice this pose, the more everything will loosen up.
- With your hands still in prayer, use your elbows to press into your knees, and actively press your knees into your elbows. The opposing force helps to really open up the muscles and stimulate blood flow.
- Actively try to press your chest forward and lift your sternum up.
- Remain in this position actively, and take 10 deep breaths, imaging your inhales traveling all the way down to your lower belly, and even further down into your lower spine and tail bone.
- Come out of the pose, rest, and repeat five to ten times.
Malasana is a great pose to practice before beginning your work day as well as after the work day is over. By practicing every day, you’ll soon notice a major difference in pain and stiffness and even the strength of your lower body and abs. What’s not to love? For more yoga poses that’ll give you happy hips and legs, check out this routine!