A family of postures that I am thankful for are the squats including malasana, also known as garland pose or yogi squat along with a multitude of variations including the pose pictured here, Chakra Mandala.
Squats connect us to our root, aka our feet. Experiences in life can literally knock us off our feet and shake our sense of safety and connection to self and the ground under our feet. This can come by way of traumatic or adverse experiences or gradually overtime due to repetitive motion. Repetitive motion injuries can even result from yoga, as in the case of a practice that overly emphasizes forward folding over back body activation. This off kilter stance can become habitual and unconscious but can be corrected through therapeutic experiences, such as a daily squatting practice.
When we are ungrounded, we are literally destabilized, not solid in our movement. Our mind /body/spirit pattern reveals a distrust or fear of squarely planting ourselves in our lives, in our bodies and on the earth. Injuries resulting from yoga asana which appear gradually overtime can be understood as the amplification of our distortions so that they can enter conscious awareness and thereby become workable. If we are paying attention, curious and compassionate, we can meet our injuries/distortions with responsive care and seize an opportunity for deeper healing. This may mean changing our practice (more squatting, less passive stretching) or seeking professional help via a physical therapist (who in many cases will instruct you to squat) for correction and healing. It also may mean revisiting past aversive experiences leading to imbalances in posture in gate, also perhaps with the help of a professional mental health therapist.
Squatting puts us back on top of our feet, creating a renewed sense of strength, integration and stability. If done skillfully, with attention to the feet, squats such as Chakra Mandala (pictured above) can rebalance the pelvic floor and sacrum, leaving us feeling centered, on point and powerful, supported by the earth without distortion.
Izzy Shurte is a PYR Ambassador. She teaches Bhakti Flow every Sunday at 10:30 am. Register for it here.