The Garland Pose (Malasana) is excellent for relieving back pain while stretching the ankles and groins.
(Pronounced as "MAH-LAHS-anna")
Mala is a Sanskrit word that means "garland." Here, your arms form a garland around your knees. In Hindu culture, to garland a person is to show them honor and respect.
Squat on your yoga mat while keeping your feet together. Press the soles of your feet completely down into the mat without letting the heels come up. If your heels will not stay down, then place a folded yoga blanket under your heels for support. Raise your buttocks up off the floor. As your feet stay together, spread your knees apart wider than your torso and lean slightly forward.
As you exhale, bend forward from the waist and place your palms on the mat in front of you. Lean forward enough so that the fronts of your knees rest against the backs of your armpits.
Now stretch your arms around your legs so that you can clasp your hands or fingers together behind your back. If you cannot reach far enough to grab your fingers, then take a yoga belt and grab onto it with both hands behind your back. Gradually, you can pull your fingers closer together while pulling the yoga belt between your hands.
Stretch your head, neck and chest forward and up as you gaze at the ceiling. Then exhale and let your forehead rest on the mat in front of you. If you want to go deeper in the pose, you can bring your hands down to grab the backs of your ankles as you pull your forehead closer to your toes on the mat.
Stay in this posture for 30 seconds or up to a minute according to your capacity. Inhale to come out of the posture. Follow these steps in reverse to come out of the pose gently and lie back on the floor.
Recent lower back or knee injuries
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