Originally published December 19, 2018 on my previous blogsite
The Yogini Squat: an Ancient Sacred Practice from the Innate Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples
I have been fascinated with photos of Indigenous Marketplace Women on the Continent of Africa, in India, Malaysia, Indonesia etc. Not only by their Simple Regal Beauty and attire, nor their crafty enterprising entrepreneurialism but by how many of them would rest in a Squatting position. I have seen Indigenous Women from around the globe who appeared to be at least 85 years old Squatting comfortably. This has always fascinated me. When I would see this, something would whisper to me from within, “ there is something to this posture, it is a key to vitality”
I would reference these images when talking to aging people in this country (the U.S) as well as when talking with people in this country about aging and vitality. I noticed that the Elders that I have and know and see, could not possibly even get up from sitting with ease let alone achieve the squat and get back up. I remember along the way in my studies of Indigenous Culture and Healing Modalities, learning of how sitting is not good for the body and how there is twice as much pressure on the spine while sitting as standing.
As a student of physics, anatomy and physiology, this made sense to me. When standing the force of gravity from above and from the Earth below is exerted on our spine and distributed throughout the body. When we sit, there is half the distance which doubles the force. The impact when sitting is mostly on the the Tailbone and Sacrum, but then, of course, is distributed throughout the body as pressure compressing the joints and organs. Over time these subtle forces become exponentially devastating on our bodies. Below i have compiled some information from a few sources on the benefits of squatting.
Sitting is worse than Smoking
Dr. James Levine, Director of the Mayo Clinic – ASU Obesity Solutions Initiative, is famed for his recent claim that “sitting is worse than smoking”. It turns out he’s not alone in his thinking. Many researchers are now finding links between prolonged sitting and a variety of serious conditions, including type-2 diabetes, heart disease and even various forms of cancer. Yuck!
On The Resting Yogini Squat
Anatomically, the position stretches the lower back, decompresses the spine and releases the hips. The body’s weight becomes more evenly distributed in this position, preventing the accumulation of stress in just a few ‘hot-spots’. Joints and muscles no longer undergo gradual tightening, allowing the body to remain balanced. The ultimate result? Increased mobility. Consider this an investment in your future. https://naturalcave.com/posts/interesting-facts-about-the-natural-squatting-position/
Squat for your Chakras
It’s also believed that squatting can help us to remain more ‘grounded’ and connected to the earth. Those familiar with the body’s chakra system will know that the body’s first energy center is located at the base of the spine near the perineum. Known for its ability to connect us to the earth’s energy field, it’s believed that squatting can enhance this energy transfer. The end result? An abundance of energy to be utilized by the body for healing and restoration. https://naturalcave.com/posts/interesting-facts-about-the-natural-squatting-position/
Seven Advantages of Squatting
3.) Securely seals the ileocecal valve, between the colon and the small intestine. In the conventional sitting position, this valve is unsupported and often leaks during evacuation, contaminating the small intestine.
7.) For pregnant women, squatting avoids pressure on the uterus when using the toilet. Daily squatting helps prepare one for a more natural delivery. http://www.naturesplatform.com/health_benefits.html
A Clinical Study of Sitting versus Squatting
In April, 2002, an Iranian radiologist, Dr. Saeed Rad, published a study which compared the effectiveness of sitting versus squatting for evacuation.24 One of his conclusions relates to the cause of a type of hernia known as "rectocele," which is a bulge of the front wall of the rectum into the vagina.
Thirty subjects participated in the study – 21 male, 9 female – ranging in age from 11 to 75 years. Each patient received a barium enema so the internal mechanics of evacuation could be recorded on an X-Ray image. Each patient was studied in both the squattingand the sitting positions.
Using these images, Dr. Rad measured the angle where the end of the rectum joins the anal canal. At this junction point, the puborectalis muscle creates a kink to prevent incontinence. Dr. Rad found that when the subjects used sitting toilets the average angle of this bend was 92 degrees, forcing the subjects to strain. When they used squat toilets, the angle opened to an average of 132 degrees. At times it reached 180 degrees, making the pathway perfectly straight.
Using squat toilets, all the subjects reported "complete" evacuation. "Puborectalis relaxation occurred easily and straightening of the rectum and anal canal facilitated evacuation. The anal canal became wide open and no folding was noticed in the terminal rectum."
In the sitting position, "a remarkable folding was created in the terminal rectum predisposing it to rectocele formation, and puborectalis relaxation was incomplete." All the subjects reported that elimination felt "incomplete" in the sitting position.
Dr. Rad also measured the distance from the pelvic floor to the perineum. In the sitting position he found that the pelvic floor was pushed downwards to a significant degree. (A detailed discussion of the connection between sitting toilets and pelvic organ prolapse – including rectoceles – can be found in the gynecological disorders section.)
Dr. Rad concluded that the use of the squat toilet "is a more comfortable and efficient method of bowel evacuation" than the sitting toilet.
The Benefits of Squatting
1.)Squats Burn Body Fat: We need muscle to effectively burn carbohydrates and prevent them from being turned into triglycerides. The more strength/muscle you add to your body, the better your body is at burning fat. It’s that simple. If you need more science, read up on my super popular carb trafficking post. Our goal is to push carbohydrate traffic to muscle and squatting on a regular basis is a great way to accomplish that since you are adding greater carbohydrate parking space by engaging larger muscles. More muscle parking space means less goes towards body fat production and triglyceride production.
2.)Squats Can Prevent/Reverse Diabetes: This too is related to carb trafficking. Resistance training has been shown to be at least as effective at reducing insulin resistance as cardio workouts. Muscle cells have a special receptor on their cell surface called Glut-4 which suck glucose molecules from your bloodstream into your muscle cells like a mini vacuum cleaner, lowering your blood glucose levels. Working larger muscles like your legs will remove more glucose than if you were to focus on smaller muscles. In other words, squats aren’t just good for your glutes…they’re also great for your glucose-reducing Glut-4s! So trade in some of those dumbbell curls for some deep squats.
3.)Squats Promote Anti-Aging: Have you noticed how your parents or elder family members start walking as they age. They slow down, they walk with a wider stance for stability, they start using a cane, a walker, and it’s all downhill from there. As we age, we naturally start losing some muscle and if you do a lot of sitting, that accelerates even more muscle loss. I’m already seeing young individuals showing signs of early degenerative arthritis and knee pain due to prolonged sitting. These are 30-year-olds who might be using a cane by age 50. In fact leg strength is one of the most powerful predictors of disability later in life. Squatting also prevents osteoporosis by improving bone density. I don’t know about you, but my post-retirement plans don’t involve using canes or walkers. Read more about anti-aging hereand why we are aging faster.
4.)Squats Can Eliminate Knee Pain: Unless you tore cartilage in your knee from an injury or have some other mechanical disorder in your knee, doing squats and strengthening your legs will eliminate most causes of knee pain. Most knee pain I see in the clinic results from a lack of strength in the surrounding muscles supporting the knee. Unfortunately, people respond by doing less leg training and the problem just gets worse. In the early stages knee pain may get slightly worse, but then once you make some strength gains, your knee pain is gone forever. Again, check with your doctor or orthopedist to make sure you're clear to squat.
5.)Squats Help You Run Faster, Further and
Jump Higher: Virtually any athletic pursuit you do is improved by squatting. I’ve never enjoyed running much, but I have to say that improving leg strength has done more to improve my running endurance and speed than anything I’ve done. If you’re a runner, rather than piling on more miles to your training week, try adding a few days of squatting and you will see your performance in running or any sport improve by leaps and bounds…literally! You'll also reduce the risk of common runner's injuries and strains since you are reducing repetitive stress from overtraining and strengthening muscles to support your stride.
6.)Squatting Is Wired Into Your DNA: I love watching toddlers squat…not only is it adorable, but it affirms the fact that each of us were born to squat, until those darn chairs came along. In the few areas of the world where chairs and modern toilets haven’t taken over, it’s still the preferred way that people sit, socialize, and go to the bathroom. Excerpted from “The Origins of Sqatting”
The Resting Yogini Squat, Reclamation and your Daily Womb Goddess Wellness Lifestyle
This posture is relaxing, restorative as well as revitalizing to our Wombs. We Indigenous Women are reclaiming our Wise Ways. We are laying down the customs forced on us by our Western Colonizers and picking back up our traditional practices, ways and customs. We are separating ourselves from what does not serve our highest and greatest good and from what was never intended for our survival let alone vitality and success. We are reclaiming our Indigenous Heritage one Practice at a time. How can we incorporate the Resting Squat into our daily lives? With intention! Little by little replacing the time we spend sitting with squatting.
Sunrise and Sunset Resting Squat Meditation
These two times mark the most important times of our day. The time when the life giver of our planet rises to bring daylight and sets to give way to night. As a terrestrial being, it’s a good idea to observe these moments in order to calibrate ones hormones and stabilize the mood.
Chose to observe the this posture for at least 7 minutes. Rest in the Squat for as long as you can and then transition into Cat/Cow to then sit back on your ankles to rest. Repeat for 7 minutes while breathing consciously. If you prefer, chant during this devotion to occupy your mind. You will notice that you’ll be able to observe Yogini Squat with more ease as time goes by. Your movements throughout the day will be less labored and more powerful. This posture stores up potential energy in the body such that, with practice, when you get up there is a spring board effect Observe your practice for 21 days. Let me know how it goes 😉
Yogini Squat Vinyasa Coming Soon!
Stay tuned for opportunities to gather together and squat while breathing and chanting. We'll Sip on Teas that are soothing and rejuvenating to the womb and nerves and Observe the Resting Squat Meditation and Vinyasa together.
Reclaim your Wise Ways and Holistic Indigenous culture by Including this simple, Soothing and Empowering posture and practice into your Whole Goddess Lifestyle.