Learning to Squat

dreamstime_s_39414507In traditional societies, women did everything together; often, when you see photos of tribal women, they are squatting while cooking a meal or grinding grain.

As modern women, we’re not used to squatting for long periods, but it increases the mobility of the pelvic joints and strengthens the muscles of the inner thighs and Achilles tendons. Squatting is also a great position in which to give birth, but it can be uncomfortable unless you get some practice.

HOW TO SQUAT

Stand with your feet about hip width apart and your heels on the floor. Keeping your back straight and your weight equally distributed between your heels and toes, squat slowly as you exhale. If you need support, hold onto a secure piece of furniture, a doorknob or your partner’s hand. You can also lean back against a wall or between your partner’s knees.

Do not bounce. Stay in the squatting position for at least 30 seconds, then inhale and return to a standing position. Repeat 5 times a day. Work up to squatting for 90 seconds.

If your heels do not lie flat while you squat, your Achilles tendons may be tight or short. You can compensate by spreading your feet further apart, wearing shoes with heels, or placing a book under each heel. You can also hold onto something. Of course, if squatting causes pain or if you have hip, knee, or ankle problems, check with your birth attendant before trying this exercise.

BIRTH IN THE SQUATTING POSITION 

Watch this amazing and inspirational film of women birthing in the squatting position. The births in this short, powerful film, Birth in the Squatting Position (1982) are mesmerizing because they show normal birth simply and profoundly. Graphic.

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 Peggy O'Mara newPeggy O’Mara is the editor and publisher of peggyomara.com. She was the editor and publisher of Mothering magazine from 1980 to 2011 and the editor-in-chief of Mothering.com from 1995 to 2012.. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four and grandmother of three.

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Peggy O'Mara

About Peggy O'Mara

Editor and Publisher of peggyomara.com. Longtime natural living advocate, award winning writer, and independent thinker.

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