Is this a good squat?!
Yes and no.
No, because it puts quite a strain on my knees, ankles and lower back. I have gone beyond what my body can comfortably do, for now.
Yes, because it informs me what areas I need to work on to rest like this with more ease - to poke the fire or to tie up my child's shoe laces, and maybe my grandchildren's one day!
What does your deep squat look like? Look in the mirror and see. Or get someone to take a picture.
What's so good about squatting anyway? Well, it gives you strong glutes and legs (you need them to get in and out of this position!), it elongates the spine and helps digestion and elimination. It allows you to have a rest and admire the view on your travels without getting your bum wet. Best to try on a downward slope or with your feet elevated by a log, for example.
Note that if your pelvis is not in the right place, squatting will be difficult and potentially detrimental.
First, align your pelvis: back up your hips so the weight of your body is in your heels and see if your pubic bone is roughly on the same vertical line as your hip bones - that's your neutral pelvic alignment, designed for the muscles to work efficiently. Check in the mirror!
Next, restore your lumbar curve. Uncurl your taibone to let your lumbar curve back in your life. Best done on all fours. Just to get the feel of it.
Keeping the ribs down towards your public bone (rather than flared), try and move back towards your feet without tucking in. Stop as soon as it does. This point marks the limit of your hip's current range of motion.
Be mindful of the moment that you start tucking your pelvis - when sitting in the car, on the couch, at your desk, when you stand, when you move.
This tucked position is linked to shortened hamstrings (set of three muscles at the back of your thighs) and a shortened psoas major (which attaches from the lumbar vertebrae to the top of the femur) due to one or more reasons:
1. You sit (too) many hours a day. Solution: sit less, move more.
2. You tuck your pelvis because you have been told to do so or because you think you should. Easy : stop right now. Be mindful of your lifelong habits. Learn to "untuck".
3. You wear shoes with a heel (defined as any height under your heel, however small!) which causes your knees to bend or pelvis to tuck to balance your body's geometry, causing the hamstrings to shorten. Solution: reduce the height of your heels progressively over weeks, months until you wear totally flat shoes.
4. Your psoas major tucks your pelvis, which causes the hamstrings (muscles at the back of your upper leg) to shorten - as a result of stress, lots of sports or fitness or certain postural habits. Solution: release the psoas (click here) and stretch the hamstrings lying down using a strap (with knee straight and neutral pelvis, keeping the lumbar curve, ie not flattening the back).