GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – If you have ever traveled to India or Indonesia, you might notice people there tend to sit in a “squat” position. While this is simply a part of their everyday culture, it is also a Yoga pose with a wealth of benefits. Squatting is an effective way to strengthen and tone pretty much the entire lower body. Another great aspect of the position is its calming and “grounding” effects to the body and mind. The way we sit and the duration we spend seated tends to reduce our flexibility and even weaken some areas of the body. This is a seat you can actually benefit from so let’s give it a try.
Begin with the feet around shoulder width apart and bending the knees, slowly lower the torso until the hips are near the back of the heels. Try to keep the spine long and erect with shoulders relaxed and thighs are wider than the torso. If your heels are not able to come all of the way to the floor, you can place a folded towel or rolled yoga mat under them until you are able to have feet flat on the floor. Next, bring your hands together in front of your chest and take slow and deep breaths.
Also if you are new to this pose or feel weak or unsteady trying lowering yourself into it while holding on to the back of a chair or other stable object. You can even try it starting with your back against a wall and lowering from there enjoying the support of the wall.
Benefits include –
- Strengthens and brings flexibility to ankles, lower hamstrings, back and neck.
- Increases mobility in the hips
- Stretches back muscles
- Soothing for some causes of backache
- Tones abdominal muscles
- Aids in digestion
Start out trying Malasana squat for 30 seconds and increase as you feel ready.