If you have ever taken a Journey Into Power (JIP) class with me, when we get to a portion of the sequence, I cue yoga squat or crow pose. Because JIP is designed to move somewhat quickly through 53 poses, I do not spend a lot of time breaking down how to move into yoga squat, and modifications for the position. This post will help you make adjustments while you practicing the yoga squat.
Like every other yoga pose. The pose is to help and support your health, and not create pain. So, when practicing this or any pose, you will feel effort in your legs/hips… and the work may be hard, however sharp, shooting pain is never okay! Gently move out of any position that creates pain. Yoga poses are to support you and help you build strength, mobility and flexibility.
I have seen several variations of yoga squat. I will break down the version I most often teach. To begin, stand with your feet hip distance apart, toes slightly angled outward, and lower down toward your yoga mat.
When lowering down and maintaining the position, you are working to maintain your weight in your heels. This keeps pressure out of your knees.
If lowering too close to the floor puts pressure on your knees and/or lower back, you can choose to:
– not lower down as far and put a couple of yoga blocks under your bum, to sit on
– hold onto a chair (that will not move) as you bend your knees and find the place where your weight can stay behind you and you can keep your chest lifted and gaze forward
-roll up your yoga mat, or place a blanket, underneath your heels, if you heels do you touch the ground (pictured below)
-stay in a tradition squat position
Once you have bent your knees and determined where you need to be to keep your weight in your heels and breath, then check to make sure you are pulling your navel into towards your spine and your chest is lifted.
To keep your chest “lifted:” gently glide your shoulder blades down your back, toward your hips, and press them forward, to help create more space between your collar bones. Notice if your low ribs are popping (spreading apart) and slide them toward your navel.
Your gaze should be forward, or angled toward the top edge of your mat, with no kinking in your neck. Once you feel stable, you can press into your heels and experiment with lifting your bum a bit more away from the floor. Note: this is strong leg and core work).
What to do with your hands and arms?
-Your palms (with elbows bent) can be together, and as you press into your palms, you can use that action to keep your chest lifted.
– Keep your arms extended forward, either with your fingers tips on the floor (or yoga blocks placed in front of you), or extend your arms in front of you, with your upper arms near your ears (still maintaining the action of gliding your should blades down your back toward you pelvis.