The Forgotten Art of Squatting Is a Revelation for Bodies Ruined by Sitting

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A young boy in Delhi, India looks pretty comfortable in this posture. Photo by Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee.

Sentences that start with the phrase “A guru once told me…” are, more often than not, eye-roll-inducing. But recently, while resting in malasana, or a deep squat, in an East London yoga class, I was struck by the second half of the instructor’s sentence: “A guru once told me that the problem with the West is they don’t squat.”

This is plainly true. In much of the developed world, resting is synonymous with sitting. We sit in desk chairs, eat from dining chairs, commute seated in cars or on trains, and then come home to watch Netflix from comfy couches. With brief respites for walking from one chair to another, or short intervals for frenzied exercise, we spend our days mostly sitting. This devotion to placing our backsides in chairs makes us an outlier…

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4 thoughts on “The Forgotten Art of Squatting Is a Revelation for Bodies Ruined by Sitting”

  1. Well, that,s right. Most of my friends are renters, one or two are sitters. I squatted in London, in Christchurch, in other places. My wife was just saying yesterday, “What happened to squatting?” It seems to have become disreputable! Do we have to go to Delhi, to learn how to squat again?

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  2. I’m just jealous of people who can squat. Those days are over for me. My dad was a great squatter. On one foot, the other knee up. I’d end up crippled, trying to do that now

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    1. I did figure a while back from an exercise video I watched … was pointed out the whole squatting thing. Tried it once nearly killed me … so yes, over I’d say sadly. What a shame we didn’t know this stuff.


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