You may think this post is about using the toilet in China, but, in fact, that is a post for another day! I want to tell you about the physical act of squatting in Asia. Squatting is a part of daily life in China. Workers squat during rest breaks. Painters squat to reach lower walls. Gardeners squat while weeding. Toilets sometimes require you to squat. Personally, I find squatting to be a comfortable way to sit! While I was teaching 3-6 year olds in my Montessori classroom, I would often squat to speak to them at eye level. Children worked on the floor so I would squat to get down to help with their work. Children squat all the time! For most Westerners, squatting is awkward, even difficult. We sit at desks to work and use sit down toilets. When you weed the garden, do you squat or use a kneeling pad? Why should we squat anyway?
Garland pose, or Malasana, is a yoga pose that is basically, a squat! Malasana stretches the ankles, hips and groin, tones the belly, and is actually really good for low back pain! It is recommended for pregnant women to practice as way to prepare for labor.
To practice this pose, squat down with your heels flat on the floor and hip-width apart (or slightly wider if necessary), toes pointing out on a diagonal. Bring your torso forward between the thighs, brace your elbows against the inside of your thighs and press your hands together in front of your chest. Stay in the pose for five breaths. If your heels do not touch the floor, place a folded blanket underneath them. If the pose is easy, work on bringing your feet together.
I challenge you to try to squat this week while doing some household task…or just try the yoga pose!