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The Deep Squat

Use it or loose it. Another little thought train from me to you…. Remember when we were little and the positions we could bend ourselves into, or the distances we could run with ease? I don’t know about you, but I always curse myself for not keeping that up to maintain that level of fitness and flexibility. As the saying goes, you gotta use it or lose it. Another example of this is the squat. In Yoga the Yogi squat is called Malasana. Most of us lose the ability to squat during adult life, even though it’s such an important position for the human body. It is natural from our older selves, going to the toilet outside, cooking on the ground, sleeping on low beds, childbirth (why we ever encouraged childbirth laying down is beyond me but that is another topic completely), constantly kneeling and bending to pick and find food. Now, I’m not suggesting we go and go to the toilet outside but what I am saying is that in order for our bodies to maintain their functional movement, you need to USE IT. Squatting is such a functional movement. If you loose the ability to squat you loose much more than just being able to squat. Modern life has adapted to make life easier for us. The work tops are the right height, chairs are ergonomically designed to keep our knees slightly lower than our hips (for most), toilets are at the height we don’t need to think to much about how we are getting up and down. Even our beds are at the height that it makes it easy for us to swing our legs around and stand up.

So what are the benefits to the deep squat:

  • Hip mobility just wonderful for the pelvis

  • Helps the digestive system

  • Spinal mobility enabling our spine to lengthen

  • Calf and achilles flexibility

  • Strengthening the quads, hamstrings, glutes, calf muscles, core, and the lower back

  • Puts our bowels in a perfect position for emptying

  • Birthing in this position let’s gravity do the majority of the work and has a smoother exit for baby and less intervention and problems.

  • Takes the knee joints to a deep range of extension

There are many people and clients of mine who can no longer squat. BUT there are also ways you can help to bring this back. Tips to get your squat back:

  • Put blocks or pillows under your heels

  • Use a prop under your bottom such as a block or low step (keep reducing the depth until you can get up easily)

  • Lay down with your bottom against the wall and move your feet against the wall (bring your bottom closer over time)

  • Use a very light or no weight on a leg press machine if you have access to them

  • Use a reformer (all my clients get these in almost every session as the warm up)

  • Support your weight on your thighs with hands or elbows

  • Do wide leg bridges (lay on your back and feet wide and lift hips to sky) to build the strength

  • Remove some of our home comforts and sit on the floor occasionally

  • DO THE SQUAT more

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