Asian Squats to Improve Health, Flexibility and Balance
JUNE 18, 2014 BY CATE LEONA
asian squatProfessional Chinese basketball players are doing it, businessmen at a restaurant are doing it, children at a playground are doing it, and pregnant women in a line up are doing – it’s the Asian squat! While most non-Asians find it difficult to do the Asian squat, Asians learn the squat as young children and continue to use the position daily throughout their lives. Squatting is not only comfortable; it also promotes physical health. This simple seating position can help you be fit for life. Worldwide, more and more people are learning this beneficial exercise. We review how to do the Asian squat with comfort.
If you do not do squats or exercises that work the same muscles, you may initially find it uncomfortable. Asians are not more anatomically predisposed to do squats than Westerners. All it takes to do Asian squats is practice. Practice improves flexibility.
Advantages of the Asian Squat
The Asian squat came to Asia from India. It predates formal furniture. Modern conveniences are not always better for us. The car is convenient but walking is much healthier. In Asia, we can see this advantage of the Asian squat everywhere. In the streets, people play cards and other games wherever they desire. No card table is required. Gathering for meals also is easy. In many parts of Asia, there are no formal toilets. The Asian squat is often used even with formal toilets due to the health advantages. If you visit Asia, you may need to use an Asian squat toilet. Learn the proper squat toilet etiquette before you go.
The Asian squat has many health advantages. It improves digestion and bowel function. You may look like you have better posture in a chair but, in fact, your organs and genitourinary tract are in straighter alignment and more open in the Asian squat. You are also massaging the bladder, bowl and intestines at the same time.
Many of us have tight hips, knee joints and ankles. As we grow older, we lose more flexibility. The Asian squat works many muscles, including stretching the thighs, calves, hamstrings and glut muscles. Motion in the hip and knee are improved. The Asian squat strengthens your cores, especially when you lower and raise your body into position. It is the solution to many back problems caused by incorrect posture. Western scientists recently completed a study showing that individuals who can stand up straight from a cross-legged position without supports live longer and healthier lives. Add longevity to the many benefits.
Asians can comfortably sit in the squat position for a long time. They may read a book, eat a meal or take a work break in a squat position.
Posture in the Asian Squat
The Asian squat is better for the posture than a chair. The center of gravity is above the feet providing better balance. Less pressure is placed on the knees. Those who use the Asian squat say they have more energy.
How to Do the Asian Squat
It is worth mastering the Asian squat to benefit from its many health advantages. While it keeps leg and stomach muscles toned, if you are not using these muscles initially you may feel very uncomfortable. Start by squatting for several minutes a day.
Note the proper alignment in the fourth person, although his buttocks could be lowered further.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Lower your buttocks while bending your knees until your buttocks touches your heels
Feet are flat on the floor, including the heel.
Your center of gravity is over your feet and belly button. In contrast, the Western squat places more weight forward on the knees and patellar tendon.
Make sure your knees are behind the toes.
Slowly rise out of the squat focusing on the belly button to maintain your balance.
Rising from the Asian Squat builds control, strength and balance in your legs.
These positions should be avoided. Notice the heals off the ground and weight on the knees in position one. The body alignment is asking for back aches in the other three.
The biggest challenge for Westerns seems to be getting the feet flat on the ground. Practice for a few minutes a day and slowly elongated the resisting muscles. Well into old age, you will appreciate the added flexibility. The important point to remember is to ensure flat feet and proper balance to keep the stress off of the knee joints, which is one of the advantages of the Asian squat. Reports of arthritis are higher in those who place stress in the knee joints. If you are constantly leaning forward in your squat, say to play a game, then you should reconsider your sitting position. The beauty of the squat is that one can engage in activity while maintaining proper posture and balance. Falling out of proper posture is more of a risk for newbies. With tight muscles, you may try to lean forward to ease the strain which, in turn, places the strain on the knees. Avoid doing so!
Asian Squats and Physical Activity
Asian squats complement many other physical activities. Tai Chai provides complimentary muscle toning and flexibility and health benefits. You can enjoy these benefits by enrolling in the online course Improve Your Physical and Mental Success With Tai Chai. Tai Chai will help you become more flexible and relaxed. The many semi-squats used in various positions are good preparation for the Asian squat. Tai Chair has many of its own health benefits including reported improvements by those with fibromyalgia and knee osteoarthritis. Learning the positions, breathing and energy work of Thai Chai will improve your overall flexibility.
For some athletes, daily squatting can maintain important alignment. If you are a gymnast, singer or firefighter manipulating heavy equipment, the core strengthening will help you improve your performance. In weightlifting, this strengthening and alignment is critical, as demonstrated in Learning the Proper Way in Performing the Squat. Practicing the Asian squat will help you do weightlifting squats without injury.
Asian squats can both prevent and bring relief to neck and back aches. Consider a complimentary yoga program. Yoga for Neck and Back Care will help you stretch out key muscle groups and strengthen your posture. Pain-free posture and movement, moving and exercising pain free, and strengthening your core are all benefits of yoga and Asian squats.