Squat Like Your Ancestors

 Long before chairs were invented humans took a load off in a natural seat. Our ancestors and many people all over the world today use the resting squat as a position to rest, eat, wait, and well you know, relieve themselves. 
 
Squatting is a fundamental human position. It’s hard wired into your DNA. I love watching kids squat without even a thought or a struggle. Unfortunately many people loose the ability to squat as they grow older. Have you ever thought about why? 
 
If you guessed that one sitting in chairs is one of the reasons you were right!
 
When you sit in a chair your body stays flexed 90 degrees at the hips and knees. Some of your muscles turn off because they don’t have to work to hold you up, the chair supports you. Other muscles end up over-stressed. Over time your hips and legs
become weak and tight and you begin to lose mobility. Our society calls this aging. Too often people are willing to accept a loss in range of motion and ability to do the things they love. But it does not have to be this way!  
 
Making a squat part of your daily routine will help keep you fit, mobile, and healthy. Squatting makes you strong in your hips, legs, and feet. It also brings strength to the postural muscles that support your spine to lengthen and hold you upright. A squat asks your body to come to an end range of flexion at your knees and hips, and it demands mobility in your ankles. 
 
There is tons of research out there that praises the squat as a place to down-regulate, burn calories and fat, improve digestive health, slow down the effects of aging and much more. Sounds like a no brainer right? Why don’t you give it a try!
 
Starting with a wider base and turning your hips, legs, and feet slightly outward will give you more access and stability. Over time you may bring your feet closer to one another.
 

1. Only drop your hips as low as you can keep your heels on the ground. If your heels raise up use a blanket or a towel to support your heels. Squatting with your heels up sends your knees too far forward and puts too much pressure on your patella tendon.

2. Ask yourself if your tailbone is curled under you? If this is the case then lift up out of the squat until you can keep your tail aiming behind you. You may find raising your heels with a support helps you keep this position of your pelvis.

3. Check in with your knees and feet. Are your knees falling in and/or your inner arches of your feet collapsing down? Again, adjust the position so you can keep the knees in line with your ankles. 
 
If you need support, hold on to your kitchen sink and hang down to your end range. Stay in the pose for up to one minute, as long as you don’t experience any pain. Over time you will find your end range will improve and the position will become more comfortable.
 
Here are some previous posts and free YogaVibes videos I have made that will help you improve your squat. *Click the photos for the complete video or blog post.*
 
Roll Your Feet! It’s no secret that these days I prefer the Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls to the “Pinky Ball” I use in this video and I have expanded on the techniques. Nonetheless this is a great start. Did you know that 25% of the bones in your body are in  your feet? Rolling your feet gives you more access to the support and movement in your feet nature intended. In addition it helps to loosen up the tissue on the back of your legs.
 
 
Office Chair Yoga! Take a 10 minute break and use your chair to relieve the effects of sitting in it!
 
 
Six-Minutes of Yoga for Stiff Bodies! This daily routine speaks for itself. 
 
 
 

Try this supine sequence. It’s not just for when you are feeling tired, it’s a great way to increase your hip mobility!

Kitchen Sink Yoga. A great stretch while you are waiting for your tea to steep!

 

Outer Hip Relief. Another great break from sitting in your chair!

 

Yoga Anywhere! For more relief from sitting and other things that ail you, please see the free videos on my website.

 

Happy squatting! Let me know how it goes in the comment below.

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