In the past, I really did want to squat and tried practicing squatting – a lot. Funny what one does with a lot of time!:) I went to the gym 4-5 times a week stretched A LOT, AND did a lot of yoga at the time. I thought the ability to squat was somehow an indication of my health. Aka – if I could squat I was IN good shape. And from what I could see all the really good yogi’s could do it so I wanted to as well!
Here is an article on squatting and why squatting may be important:
And I did think a lot of my INABILITY to squat had something to do with my job as a computer guy. “Sit a lot – Lose your squat“. There is some truth to that adage. But how does one learn to “re-squat” – assuming you were able to squat as a kid?
Leanne was in the same boat as me in many ways except she practiced wayyyy more than me as a dancer. She did it all, ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap. Her career as a professional dancer acutally started at the age of 4. One thing she remembers though is NOT being able to squat at all when she was at the peak of her career at 16. In dance, they do a lot of “exams”, so she remembers the specifics of what she could and couldn’t do.
So, how could this be? Spend a lot of time (like 10,000 hours) on something and not be able to do it?
This reminded me of my cooking buddy showing me at one time how to make the perfect Lemon Meringue Pie Topping. His trick was to put the egg whites or cream, bowl, and mixers in the fridge for an hour before mixing. Until that day he showed me this extra step, no matter how much sugar or whipping, or not whipping of the topping I had done, it never really fluffed properly.
And even though I had tried all the things I knew to in order to get that topping right – it never worked out. Now you are probably asking yourself “And what has this all got to do about squatting??”
When Leanne was 48 she got the ability to squat. No squat at 16 – Have serious leg injury at 17 – Learn to SQUAT at 48? This was unbelievable to me as Leanne has THE MOST SERIOUS leg injury I have ever heard of – she actually tore her quad from her pelvis at 17.
Let me say that again for emphasis…
LEANNE TORE HER QUAD FROM HER PELVIS AT 17 AND CAN NOW SQUAT COMFORTABLY AT 51!!
Most people cannot squat, let alone someone with as serious a leg injury as hers. And if you don’t believe me – look it up. Tearing your quad from your pelvis doesn’t happen very often because its NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN! Our body is literally designed to NOT allow the leg to tear off. And here’s the clincher, she was able to squat by NOT practicing squatting!!!
<—- Watch Leanne Showing her Super SQUAT Skill!
This “super squat ability” has more to do with understanding how to move all the pieces involved in squatting effectively, and the outcome is that she is able to squat. Similar to the cooking example above – understanding how the ingredients interact together, under certain conditions, and temperature – eggs whites or cream fluffing more when cold – lead to the perfect topping.
Easy right?? So, the million dollar question is:
Can you learn to SQUAT too?!?!
Lets back up a sec. I believe it may be possible to learn how to squat just from practicing squatting. But it’s possible that you may also spend a lot of time (like I did) trying to do just that, and then still not be able to do it, or even worse, injure yourself in the process. I have known many a yogi who had serious injuries from some of the things they did to themselves.
In my 30’s it felt like it was going to be a long long road before I could squat. And I remember how it felt when I was practicing it. I would either force myself to do it, or I would try and sit in squatting for a long time with the hope that somehow that would make it happen. Not the HAPPY PATH:(
The alternative I have found is that by learning to use ALL the parts of the body in a gentle, easy, luxurious, and smarter-feeling-good way, has lead me to closer to the ability to squat – and MORE IMPORTANTLY do many, many other things way easier. Like picking my son up off the floor, or getting up and down from the floor, or sitting easier. The list goes on and on!
And all of this at 45. Surprised? Skill I am finding is more important than strength!
IN FACT one situation I remember vividly made it very clear to me as to what I may be able to do if I kept on this path.
At the beginning of my practitioner training the teachers were lined at the front and they were all taking turns talking on the mic and reading from a paper. As each of them talked, when they turned the paper over to read the next page, THEY ALL USED THE FLOOR LIKE A TABLE. That is when they went to turn to the next page, they held the mic with one hand and simply squatted to the floor, put the paper on the floor with their other hand, turned the paper over (on the floor) and then stood up again.
This was not some parlor trick or that they were showing off:) They were just doing what felt natural and easy to them for what they needed to do. Need to turn paper over with one hand? Squat. Put paper on floor. Turn paper over. Stand up again. Simple!
And the thing that REALLY stuck in my head – all my teachers are all in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. I was thinking to myself – “WOW – I want to be able to move like them!!” Now when I watch Leanne move in the video above – I also want to move as easy as her. Yes, as effortless as my wife with the most serious leg injury I know of!
NO ONE ELSE that I see in my day to day life uses the floor like that, except kids. And usually kids under the age of 5. Just look around your life and see who squats and who doesn’t. And then the ones that do squat – why are they squatting? Are they doing it for “practice” or are they doing it because they don’t even think of it and they are just going to the floor? And that is just it, KIDS use the floor because the floor is literally so EASY for them to get to, its like a table to them – a GIANT TABLE.
So, squatting??? This is just one example of the MANY MANY MANY things we learn to do easily at Move Therapies. We focus on learning the ability to use ALL of yourself in a way that is easy and has a ton of quality, and then squatting just happens because its as Leanne would say:
“EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEAZY”.
As of now, my interest in squatting has subsided. I don’t practice squatting anymore in the way I used to – but am getting better at squatting. Maybe one day, I’ll be like this kid!
YUM YUM Ice Cream —>
If you are interested in learning to squat, or MORE importantly, learning how to move EASILY and WITHOUT PAIN, in a fun, curious, and friendly environment, and learning all the things needed in order to squat (or dance, walk, reach, sit….) – then come see us at MOVE Therapies in OSOYOOS, BC. OR look up the Anat Baniel Method, or the Feldenkrais Method. Good Luck!