How to Do a Perfect Squat

Squats are a move/pose to do every day. Not only do they increase strength and flexibility in our hips, squats are also a wonderful friend to the spine, which can endure a lot of compressive forces in our daily (often sedentary) lives.

Functional movement studies reveal that opening up your hips in a functional way (via weight bearing, not just hanging out on your back), helps your back by decompressing the weight on the spine while increasing flexibility around the pelvis (through which weight is dispersed).

Here’s how.

  1. Bring your feet wider than hip distance apart and lean back on your heels slightly to unweight the toes.
  2. Lift the toes and turn them out without changing your alignment. Your natural turnout will depend on the flexibility of your entire lower leg, hips and low back. Make sure your knees line up with the middle of your foot, not splaying in.
  3. Bend your knees, maintaining the natural curve in your lower back while pulling in your lower belly to avoid swayback (too much arch).
  4. Lower as far as you can without changing your alignment and then straighten the knees.
  5. Repeat five to 10 times and then hold the squat, placing your hands on the inside of your thighs. Use your hands and your abdominals to lift the low belly and offer more length to the spine, naturally decompressing it.
  6. You can add gentle twists by turning through the ribs to get more rotational mobility in the spine and a slight opening in the groin muscles.

Find out about upcoming programs with Lara Heimann at Kripalu.

This post was originally published on Lara's blog.

Lara Heimann, E-RYT 500, a physical therapist, functional yoga pioneer, and empowerment speaker, is redefining yoga through better education and innovation with LYT™ Yoga.

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