One of the prettier-sounding asanas, Garland pose brings to mind an ethereal posture during which your body expresses itself in delicate whorls. But when it goes by its other name, Prayer Squat, you’re drilling down to the essence of this yoga pose. A compound exercise that strengthens the quads and glutes, squats are essential to a well-rounded strength-training routine. Performing Prayer Squat as a static posture with widely splayed legs delivers on the strength-building promise of a regular squat and also stretches your ankles and groin, while toning the abdominals.
- Prepare for the intense inner-thigh stretch of Prayer Squat by performing Cobbler’s pose. Sit on the floor with your back straight and your legs stretched out in front of you. Bring the soles of your feet together. Slide your feet as close to your groin as possible without strain and let your knees splay open to the sides. Hold on to your ankles with your hands. Stay in this position for up to one minute before rising to your feet to perform Prayer Squat.
- Stand on the floor with your bare feet a little less than hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower into a squat. Let your knees spread open naturally. Place a folded blanket under your heels if they rise up off the floor.
- Lean forward slightly and insert your arms and torso between your legs. Bring the palms of your hands together in front of your chest in a gesture known as Anjali Mudra. Press your hands together while pushing the backs of your arms against the insides of your knees to splay your legs open. Keep the pressure of your arms constant against your knees to enjoy the full stretch of your inner thighs and groin.
- Keep your head and neck in line with your back and stare at a fixed point in front of you. Breathe evenly through your nose while you hold Prayer Squat pose for up to one minute. Rise to a standing position in stages. Place your hands on the floor and lift your hips toward the ceiling while straightening your legs. Make the final ascent to standing with a straight back.