Squatting – in physiotherapy is a variation of yoga’s Malasana (Garland pose) aimed at the release of tightness’s in the Lumbar-Pelvic-Hip (LPH) complex, and gap-opening of the backs of the lumbar vertebrae. One of the very simple, yet effective exercises, which, if performed as a part of a specifically designed back pain rehab program, will benefit any painful spinal condition – from bulging disc, to lower back arthritis, and everything in between.
- Stand with your heels and toes close together and, holding the side of the bath or a secure rail, bend the knees and drop your bottom to the floor. (You can do it freestanding, as you can see in the picture, but holding on and leaning back gives you a better stretch.)
- Take your heels to the floor and part your knees widely as you take your bottom as close as possible to the floor.
- Bend your elbows to pull yourself forward and drop your head as low as possible between your legs, attempting to turn the full length of the spine into a long, rounded hump.
- In this position gently bounce your bottom to the floor while keeping your head tucked down. Continue for 30 seconds.
- While in this position, suck your tummy in a notch or two and sense the increased separation of the lower segments as the pelvis drops down off the base of the spine.
- To stand up, pull your tummy in and push strongly through the thighs.
- Repeat twice.
If you do not have a suitable object to hang back from as you squat, you may not be able to get your heels to the floor. But you will still be able to sense your spine ‘growing’ as you pull your tummy in, particularly if you rest your forearms on your thighs to alleviate the weight of your torso. As your back rounds, you can feel your bottom dropping down closer to the floor.
Your own physical condition and diagnosis may require specific modifications or precautions. Before undertaking any course of self-treatment you should consult a doctor or a physiotherapist.