Indian Squat – To sit or shit

by | Jun 6, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

How many of your remember sitting early morning on the window side of a train or bus , during summer holidays or winters, greeted by the sight of men and “lotas” (water pitchers) cropping out near the railway tracks?

I’m sure there is nothing too fond about this memory to reminisce about it. But today I am almost feeling nostalgic about it. Reason being, that was the last time I saw people sitting in a squat position comfortably.

In my position of a therapeutic asana practitioner, I now meet men/women from their 20s to their 40s, perching on their toes like birds, falling face forwards or on their hips backwards. Everyone looks like baby birds just out of the nest, still learning to perch themselves on the branch, and invariably everyone falls.

When did this happen to all of us? We don’t know how to squat anymore; our kids don’t know how to squat on an Indian toilet or in an emergency to squat and do their business outdoors. Similar trend is seen while sitting on the floor with crossed legs. Mind you, I am not talking about people sitting in cross leg position on the floor for 15-20 mins to meditate or breath. I meet youngsters in their early 20s who just can’t sit on the floor at all.

The inability to squat or sit cross legged on the floor spells doom in the physical development of the future generations. It could actually result into gradual deterioration of our physical form and abilities .

Is it possible that the way we lost our tails , we could loose our pelvic muscles too?

From the moment a toddler can sit up and crawl, squat is the most natural position they acquire before getting up on their feet to stand up. They also frequently sit in this position to do their business. We start messing with their natural physical positions and intuitive intelligence when we start perching them on western commodes to toilet train them. None of us can be blamed because those are the only toilets now available across cities.

As adults who are totally out of practice to squat or sit down, here are the downsides that we may experience

  • Pelvic muscle tightening , weak lower back muscles, prone to lower back aches and injuries
  • Weak core muscles leading to weak back muscles , prone to middle and upper back aches and injuries
  • Painful cramps during periods due to constricted pelvic muscles
  • Increased chances of caesarian situations during delivery , due to poor pelvic musculature
  • Increased incidences of knee/hip joint deterioration post 40s/50s
  • Poor digestion with increasing age due to interlinks between core muscles and support structure of internal organs
  • Higher incidences of constipation due to improper positioning on the western commodes.

Here’s why we need to bring back the squat in our lives

  • Squat posture helps to protect the nerves that control prostate, uterus and bladder.
  • Squatting relaxes and opens the rectal muscles to facilitate complete evacuation of bowels.
  • Pregnant women can reduce pressure on the uterus if they use the squat position and it is believed that daily squatting is conducive to normal delivery. Even birthing processes have the option of squat position in some centers.
  • Squatting reduces the risk of piles and appendicitis.
  • Yoga posture ‘malasana’ is a squat position which is believed to strengthen the ankles, lower legs and the back.
  • Squat position keeps the knee joints flexible.
  • Squat brings balance , agility and better coordination

What can we do about it ? Rather simple, isn’t it, lets SQUAT.

Easy ways to bring back the squat in our lives

  • Keep a foot stool in the bathroom , to put your feet on while doing the big business
  • If you are prone to constipation, have your glass of warm water in the squat position
  • If you are a fan of bucket bath, squat and pour some mugs of water on your head
  • If you enjoy shower bath, sit down for a second and get up
  • Encourage your kids to squat in sand, mud, grass while playing outside and if not, then indoors too
  • Attempt to sit down while watching TV or a movie with back support to start with
  • If possible, have one meal sitting down on the floor instead of the dining table

I encourage all of you to perch on your toes and sooner than later your heels will reach the floor and from baby birds you will graduate to toads ready to hop and jump.