Have you ever wondered how humans rested when nice comfy chairs weren’t invented? We squatted. That’s right, squatting is our natural way of resting, and if you ever observed young children, they instinctively squat while playing.
Growing up in China in the late 80’s and early 90’s, squatting was a big part of our lives. Some squatted outside to rest and talk, some squatted on benches to eat, and public bathrooms were strictly squatting only (for hygienic reasons too). It was very normal to see people squatting, and no one ever questioned it. I always like to tell the “fun” story of having to go to the bathroom on the trains, squatting and holding on to the bar in front of you for your life, while the train shakes you from left to right. Oh the good memories!
But in all seriousness, squatting is really good for you, but if you are having trouble coming down into a full flat footed squat, here are some good modifications.
1. If your heels don’t touch the floor, roll up the mat or use a wedge and place your heels on it
2. If your hips don’t quite come down, or you feel pressure in your knees, you can sit on a block or a bolster instead
Be mindful of your lower back and knees, and breath your way into the pose. Perhaps staying for 3 deep breaths to start, and slowly working your way into longer periods. I’m actually typing this post in a squatting position right now!
So here’s the challenge this holiday season, whenever you are using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, try doing it in a squatting position! Or better yet, open your presents this year while squatting underneath the Christmas tree!
For further reading on the benefits and a nice video on squatting, head over to Daniel Vitalis’ page, “Flat Footed Squat: How Homo Sapiens Sit“.
Cheers, and happy squatting!