For most of my life I have never been in the squatting position. It wasn’t a normal thing to do growing up in the US and as a result, I have tight Achilles tendons, among other things. Apparently in the rest of the world, particularly Asia (and even Armenia), it’s commonplace and that’s simply how people sit. For the past few years as I’ve become more aware of my body thanks to yoga, I’ve had a desire to loosen up parts of my body that are really tight.
One of my biggest goals (which I achieved in 2012) was to be able to touch my toes without bending my knees. When I squat, however, my heels come up and off the ground (unless I place my feet really wide apart). I can’t even keep my feet parallel. Sitting in a squat (as opposed to the chair) allows the spine to relax because it takes compression off the lower back, sacrum and tailbone. It also opens up the groin area and inner thighs. So this is the next “big” thing I want to work on.
Synchronicity helped me stumble upon the 30-minute challenge by Ido Portal:
I’ve been talking about the importance of the squat for years now.
It should be the third most useful human position – just after lying down and standing. Yes, you read me right, the squat should be more abundant than…. sitting.
The squat is not just a movement or a tool for getting stronger. It is a RESTING POSITION.
It means: when I get tired from standing – I squat and not vice versa.
The squat has benefits for digestion, mobility, strength development and movement capacity and can also lead to a lot of freedom – low gate work, exploration, play.
If you find the flat foot squat to be difficult, I think you should start from the meat and potatoes. (or meat and veggies in my case)
I wont recommend all kind of tips and gadgets and foam rolling this or that. I think you should start with setting up a timer watch for 30 min and start it every time you go down into the position throughout your day. Pause it when you are coming up and continue to shoot down minutes from the total. Every time you answer your phone – squat. After answering 3 emails – squat for a minute. Wait for the public transportation in a squat. Do it often. Before you go to bed each day – make sure you finish your 30 min challenge.
Do it for 30 consecutive days. You can thank me in a month.
I particularly love going into a yogic-squat by putting my hands in the prayer position and using my elbows to press my legs apart. Feels great! Also, if I bring my legs wide enough, the heels can touch the floor and my hips sink down toward the ground. I’m always playing around with the width of the feet and seeing how that affects everything else. So yea! Let’s play!