I often get asked: "how long did it take you to be able to... squat with ease?" Answer: about a couple of years from the moment I tried. And probably about a couple of years before that focusing on how I stood, walked and sat and breathed!
See how the rounding in my thoracic spine has disappeared in the photo below (green top).
How did I do it?
I recommend sitting on a stack of cushions or blankets to start with! It should feel comfortable!
Consider squatting as a resting, relaxing position even if it feels like a real challenge!
The best way to get there is to do all the corrective exercises designed by American biomechanist Katy Bowman. A massage also helps unstiffen all your parts. There are many involved in a squat! Have a look here at last year's Exercise Advent Calendar for a taster of the exercises and daily habits involved.
I can guide you through all the steps, which are designed to be integrated in your daily life: legs on the wall, calf raise, kneeling with ankle dorsiflexion, position cycling, standing to kneeling to standing, supported squat (static and dynamic), step-ups, thoracic spine mobilisation, moving in and out of a squat, Hip slide and glide, cross-legged stretch, play/work/eat on the floor!
How do I keep my heels down?
What you might want to focus on is the angle between your shin and your foot - think calf stretch (watch video), strap stretch (good for both hamstrings and calves), on hands and knees with dorsiflexed ankles, sitting cross-legged with dorsiflexed ankles, etc.
Gently and slowly transitioning to flatter shoes also helps with narrowing the angle between foot and shin. There is quite a bit involved!
You might want to try squatting while elevating your heels on a rolled towel or squatting supported by a stool/stack of towels or elevating your feet by resting them on a stool every time you're sitting on the loo, to prepare your body gently over time.
I recommend a good mix of awareness of alignment, corrective exercises and daily habits - which is what I teach. 😊
Benefits of squatting:
Squatting, when done in alignment, strengthens the back and core muscles.
It encourages alignment of the head, shoulders and pelvis.
It increases hip flexibility.
It helps pump blood back up, avoiding venous pooling and related issues.
Definitely worth the initial effort!
Mum of 4, nature lover, passionate about the power of human movement.