Welcome to day twenty four of my 30 Days of Ayurveda series! Throughout these blogs and videos, I will be sharing some upbeat thoughts and wellness tips, as well as some Ayurvedic tricks and food recommendations to help you lead a balanced life.
During the height of lockdown, I spent a lot of my lunch breaks weeding my vegetable patch. As I was doing this, I was thinking a lot about my posture.
In yoga, we have a squatting posture that is really good for the overall health, strength and stability of the pelvis. We call this posture upavesasana or malasana It helps to tone the entire lower body, working the quadriceps, hamstring, gluteal, and calf muscles, as well as strengthening the lower back and core. It is also particularly good for increasing circulation and blood flow in the pelvis.
This posture is one that you see a lot when you visit Eastern countries, such as India or Indonesia. People from all walks of life utilise this squat position, whether they are working, cooking street food, waiting for the bus, or organising something.
However, in our day to day lives, Westerners rarely get into a squat posture.
We have embraced sitting, whether it be at our desks, while we eat, or in front of the TV. As a result, we have lost the suppleness and strength in our legs, as well as the flexibility in our calves, ankles, and outer hips. Indeed, once we started sitting on chairs, our abdomen and lower back muscles became weaker as backrests allowed us to neglect our core muscles.
Yoga off the mat
However, one of the many benefits of yoga is that we get onto the mat and become more comfortable and flexible in being able to maintain postures, such as the squat position. Once we have perfected them, we can go about the rest of our lives off of the mat and comfortably come into these postures. This can really support our overall health and wellbeing.
The squat posture is the perfect posture for gardening.
Quite often, you see people in a doubled-over, bent-over posture when they are weeding. In yoga, we learn how to engage the stomach muscles and protect the back when we are in that posture for a while; however, when you are bent-over double weeding for maybe ten to twenty minutes, it is no surprise that you end up with back ache afterwards.
Therefore, learning how to come into a squat, and developing slowly your strength and ability to be in a squat for a long time, can be a really useful skill for when you come into the garden or other spaces in your life and hang out!
Over the next 30 days, I will be sharing even more tips and tricks to help you build some great Ayurvedic routines. Hopefully, they will soon be imbedded in your life and you can progress with them. Be sure to let me know how you’re getting on, and why not share how the squat pose has helped to strengthen your body? Find me on Instagram @anneheigham and on YouTube.