LarryD517

Balance in Malasana

16 posts in this topic

The difference between bodies has come into play (again!).

In Malasana, I'm now able to support myself with my thigh muscles, to the point that I can squat and get my butt below the level of my knees. Unfortunately, when i do it, I need to stick my arms straight out in front of me to achieve balance (lest I fall backwards). I look around class and see folk (okay, mostly the gals, but then again, the class is mostly gals...LOL) easily achieving the pose with (seemingly) no problem balancing themselves. 

There's no way I can hold my hands in prayer when I'm low, that is, butt as low as possible (if I stay higher up, I can put my hands together), nor do any of the variations (one arm down with the other up, bind, etc.). 

Could one's center of gravity be so much different from the others? I'm tall (6'3"), not sure if that matters. 

YogaByCandace likes this

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Height does matter! I'm 6ft so I know what you mean, that always used to happen to me. Do you come up onto toes or are the feet flat on the floor? I'm up on toes and I can hold the balance. If my feet are flat I can't. 

YogaByCandace likes this

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I try to keep my feet flat. I know going up on my the balls of my feet can help, but my goal (stubbornness?) is to get to the full expression, so I try the flat foot. 
When I first started, I was afraid my knee caps would pop off (seriously..LOL!). I'm ecstatic that I can lower my bumm (I noted you're from London and I love the way you Brits say "bumm" instead of the way we Yanks say "butt") below my knees. 

 

Lorelei and YogaByCandace like this

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That comment about knee caps made me die HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA! 

I know what you mean about full expression of the pose but take the baby steps! If you can balance In one, you can do it in the other.

Lorelei and YogaByCandace like this

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Congrats on the progress of getting lower! I know you're frustrated, but I'm glad you're recognizing the progress and sharing it.

Here's a secret - all the people in the "full pose" with full knee flexion are in a resting state - the back of the thighs rest against the back of the calves.  You are doing so much more work in your current squat position, so of course it's harder to balance.  I try to lift up my butt so I get more of a workout in my quads if I don't need to bind.

How wide apart are your legs? That should help, too.  Maybe that's why women seem to do it more easily because of wider hips and a wider stance.

How far are you leaning forward? I was taught this form for weight lifting, so, please correct me if this is not relevant for garland pose.  When I squat to 90 degrees and put weight in my heels, my head pokes out slightly past my knees while my back remains neutral / straight in order to balance.  Otherwise, I topple backwards, too.

And an interesting observation - it's a cultural emphasis on chairs that contributes to the lack of full squat ability. Children naturally squat - for instance, I squatted when drawing pictures on the sidewalk with chalk when young. Some Asian cultures still use squat toilets. In China, I saw lots of men crouch in the resting squat and smoke while waiting for the bus since there was no place to sit. In Thailand, a grandfather in the village still had a squat toilet - not because he just had a hole in the ground outhouse, but, a shiny porcelain squat bowl that he preferred.

 

 

YogaByCandace likes this

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22 minutes ago, yogafire said:

How wide apart are your legs?

Mat width

24 minutes ago, yogafire said:

How far are you leaning forward? 

Both hands reaching all the way forward like I'm diving and my head also needs to lean forward.

If I stay higher up (butt around knee level) I can balance, it's only when I go lower that I have problems. 

YogaByCandace likes this

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If this doesn't hurt your neck, can you see what you look like sideways with a mirror when you start at parallel and then slowly lower? Does your head remain in the same place when you lower your butt past your knees? Does your back remain straight or does it start rounding?  If these things change, it may be more beneficial to work on balancing without having to extend your arms (e.g. hands together), not going lower past your knees. Then go below the knees when you can keep the torso extended.

Otherwise, it might be just what you and @ZillaRac suspected - a height issue.

Edited by yogafire
Clarity
YogaByCandace likes this

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Larry how is your posture overall? I know that because I stand all day I hunch over a lot, so I can stick out my neck a bit. Also stick out your bum a bit more on tip toes! And then lower down to see if that helps?

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Larry, the purpose of Malasana isn't to get the heals to the ground. It is suppose to be a comfortable pose to help increase flexibility. Yoga Journal Link here. 

Your heals already touch the ground. That is true for everyone. How Do You Get Your Heels Down In Squat/garland?

Having the heals down isn't the final expression of the pose because everyone's heals are already down. There isn't a final expression of the pose. The next step is to bring the forehead or chin to the ground, then the Marichyasana poses, then Pasasana and on and on it goes.

I hope you find what is helpful for you.

LarryD517 likes this

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On 1/18/2016 at 0:41 PM, LarryD517 said:

Thanks, I'll look tomorrow.

This is close to what my arms look like in the pose 

1898845_orig.jpg

I just noticed something between this picture and the video that Anahata (and Candace's how-to graphic).  Is your head position also similar to this picture?  The head in addition to the arms are rather far extended forward past the knees.  My head remains more in line with the feet. However, this picture looks like prep for other poses (the others that Anahata mentioned) since the feet are together instead of feet apart, and the back is rounded.  

The hands might more easily go into prayer if the entire body and butt become more vertical in line with the rest of the body. In other malasanas, such as the one in Anahata's video and Candace's how-to graphic, the women's stance is more upright than this pose.  These poses also all show feet mat width distance apart - with you being around a foot taller, maybe widening beyond the mat width would give more room to squat down vertically?

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On 1/17/2016 at 10:42 PM, LarryD517 said:

Could one's center of gravity be so much different from the others? I'm tall (6'3"), not sure if that matters. 

In my senior year physics class I actually learned that men and women naturally have different centers of gravity. So yes, this is entirely possible :)

(I forget the exact experiment, but it involved picking something up off the ground in a particular position- girls did it with ease, boys all struggled or failed! )

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1 hour ago, Lacey said:

girls did it with ease, boys all struggled or failed!

It's the exact opposite when it comes to changing light bulbs, dealing with spiders and shoveling snow! :P 

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