There are some poses that truly deserve to be a part of your practice every day, and in my opinion, Squats are one of those poses. Squats are so powerfully healing for the body that in some cultures, they are a way of life, rather than something that is only practiced during exercise.
Here are five reasons why you may want to consider adding some Squats to your asana practice—and maybe even to your waiting in line at the store or at the bus stop practice too!
1. Open the Lower Back
We are a culture of people with chronically tight backs.
Back pain is one of the most common complaints that medical professionals hear: from doctors to chiropractors to massage therapists. This has mostly to do with the fact that we sit in chairs all day, which puts the pelvis in an unnatural position and results in the whole alignment of our spines going out of whack.
Sitting in Squat can help undo this misalignment and help you either naturally rid yourself of pain or avoid pain in the first place.
2. Stretch the Achilles Tendon
The Achilles tendon is the tendon that sits right on the back of your ankle that connects your heel bone to your calf muscle. This tendon does not need to be overstretched, but it can use some gentle opening every now and again.
Having a nice supple Achilles tendon means that you will be far less susceptible to tearing and damage in everyday life. Squats are one of the best postures for helping encourage a gentle, natural opening of the tendon.
3. Strengthen the Feet
Your feet are your foundation, but how much time do you spend thinking about them? Most likely, not that much. Practicing your Squats is one of the best ways to strengthen your feet, because you will be challenging them to support your weight in a way that is different from simply standing.
You will also be able to send more mental awareness towards your feet in Squat because the pose is simple enough that you can direct more of your attention onto the subtleties of what’s going on in your body.
Focus on all the little muscles in your feet that are working to support you in Squat, and really focus on lifting your arches and planting your big and little toe mounds into your mat.
4. Place the Hips in a Natural Position
Sitting in Squat places your pelvis, thighs, and lower spine in a very natural and healthy position. This pose encourages realignment in the pelvic bones themselves, as well as all in the bones of your spine. This can help retrain your posture and support a pain-free torso over time.
5. Open the Pelvic Floor Muscles
The pelvic floor muscles are SO important, and like the feet, are generally not thought of until we start to lose strength and control of them in our later years or after having children.
We have always been told that doing Kegel exercises is the best way to take care of these muscles, but most of us actually need to focus more on opening and toning them. Squats are the best exercise for this, and practicing them daily will mean that you have stronger, pelvic floor muscles that will hold up for a much longer period of time.
Do you Squat every day? What other reasons would you add to this list?
Image Credit/Yogi: Anna Coventry