The "Squat" 🚫🪑 A Truly Cambodian Gem 💎

in Natural Medicinelast year (edited)

SquatThumb.jpg

The "squat" has to be the most Cambodian thing ever, and I don't mean occupying abandoned buildings.

If you've ever traveled Southeast Asia, you've surely encountered a group of people squatting on the ground flat-footed.

🚫🪑 No Chair, No Problem 👌🙅‍♀️

     Before I moved to Cambodia in 2010, I had unknowingly performed the "squat" countless times, but was unaware how integral this move was to the Cambodian way of life.

     I guess being so isolated and living among mostly Cambodians, the "squat" slowly and became an integral part of my life too.

     On my first visit back to the USA at a family reunion there was a chair shortage, and my go-to way of handling the situation was just to pop a squat among the chair-users.

     Almost immediately an obese family member of mine pointed out how strange the Cambodian squat looked, and she immediately challenged all other family members to attempt the squat.

     It was fun watching American after American tip over like a bowling pin while trying to perform the squat, and I must admit something so ordinary in Cambodia suddenly made me feel like a circus performer in Indiana, where 65% of people are overweight or obese.

📸 Subtle Beauty In The Squat 🧎

     The inspiration for this post came from simply scrolling through our family photos and seeing a common theme, about 10% of my photos from the last 10 years involve a squat.

     There is true beauty in the simple things of life, such as random acts of kindness, and in this case, the squat. I want to share with you some squatting highlights from the past.

     As you can see, you can squat when happy or sad, traveling or at home, or just to have a chat. You can even be a Grandma with a marijuana pipe at a waterfall, the squat has no retail price.

     I think the squat is such a humble human gesture. The difference between having a conversation while standing and sitting are very measured. Tabletop conversations are always more engaging, and so squatting is just the next level of engagement.

     Reasoning is something Rastas do often, and the closest thing in Cambodia to that is to hold a heart to heart squat and chat with someone.

     Even here in Suriname at several Rasta gatherings, we have been asked if we are okay just because the 4 of us were squatting in a circle. I guess it looks like a sign of distress to some.

     Either way, in this life, if I see another culture doing something that makes sense, I incorporate it into my life, regardless if it seems weird to others.

     In a lot of ways, Cambodians and other Southeast Asians are living in the future as far as hygiene goes. The "namaste" type greeting is now becoming normal around the world, even in countries where the handshake once reigned supreme.

👉 Can You Squat? 👈

     @Sreypov and I headed outside for a few minutes to document just how simple it is. If you can't squat and chat for 5 minutes, you've got other health problems you need to solve.

STEP 1
     Spread your legs a bit first unless you're super limber.
STEP 2
     While keeping your feet flat and firmly planted, center your balance and begin the descent.
STEP 3
     Bend your knees more and more til you reach Squatville.
STEP 4
     See how long you can enjoy Squatville. Most folks never do it for more than 10-15 minutes, but in a pinch I've squatted for hours with no other options.

🙏 THANKS FOR READING 🙏

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Squatting is THE BIZ for natural health - lovely to see more posts about posture and movement!! 😍 Hate to burst your Cambodian bubble but half the world squats. 🤣 Spreading the knees makes the squat deeper and more effective for releasing the sacral area. Thai costumes have even evolved to accommodate the squat, with the large loose pants-style garment instead of skinny skirts. 😍

We will KNOW the world is smarter when squat toilets become the norm in western countries.

Are you sure you don’t live bursting bubbles? 🤪 Maybe you misunderstood, I wasn’t implying or stating anywhere that only Cambodians squat, just merely that it is a Cambodian gem, just like “Did you eat rice yet?” means “What’s up?”

I just wanted to share the subtle beauty that is the Cambodian squat,that’s all. Although I do think Cambodians do it best, with Slavs in tracksuits a close second place.

Slavs in tracksuits are called dreshers in Polish. When I first saw them I really thought they were joking being dressed like that. Don't underestimate their squat technique either haha. From my experience I'd say Cambodians and Indians win hands down or in this case bums down...

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Your ! family ! is ! too ! cute !!!
I always say that. 😅

Squatting is AMAZING indeed. I have seen some indigenous people, here in South America, hold in squat position as well. They use it to rest when they're tired and I have also read it has many benefits!

I admit it is hard to me. I, somehow, can hold Malasana asana in yoga for the longest period of time but am TERRIBLE at the Cambodian Squat. I always fall. 😅

Props to @sreypov for being the model to the tutorial. 10/10!

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Funny you say the thing about South America, I have seen the Caribs and Saramaccan people doing it a bit here in Suriname, but I think the western diet has made that more difficult. Most people in Suriname have a bit of a belly too, something that isn't squatter friendly.

All the indigenous forest cultures in Suriname are trying to get as far away from the Earth as possible by building high dwellings that keep them safe from the creatures of the forest floor. I bet too much squatting in the forest might lead to a surprise from a ground creature one day.

It feels good to do it when I have been sitting on my ass for too long, but if I were doing it around here in front of people, I would definitely cause people to wonder except at Tam Tam which is a bongo circle at one of the parks where it would be accepted. I don't play the bongos though. I saw quite a few photos of my Thai mother and other relatives in that position.

I think Cambodia is one of the few countries where it's not taboo to do the squat anywhere. You can be in a bank, a business meeting, on the edge of the road, and you can just pop a squat. I do know what you're saying about the eyes. We get weird looks at the bus stops here in Suriname cause we squat while waiting.

Haha I didn't know Cambodia did it that much. So interesting.

I've heard squatting is quite healthy for the sciatic nerve, so it's a good practice regardless of culture.

Here's an interesting story:
A Canadian couple who are friends of mine adopted a girl from China. She was a baby then, and was raised completely in the Western culture. However, her adoptive parents noticed how she liked to sit down in a squat, something they could not have taught her, as neither of them could actually perform it for longer than a few seconds. They never stopped her either, and she has kept up the practice into her adult life.

That is not as bizarre to me now that I know some changes in the genes are possible within one generation due to stress and other extreme factors. Two examples I know well are women who got pregnant and gave birth during the famines, food shortages and concentration camps of WWII, and the trauma from the Khmer Rouge genocide.

I remember seeing that the children of these WWII famine mothers were more prone to obesity and diabetes than the regular population. The theory was the women's DNA altered a little on the fly to compensate for what seemed to the womb a world with little food. Slower metabolism was the end result, something that would be really beneficial in a food scarce world.

I've also read a lot of studies showing that PTSD can and has been passed down from Khmer Rouge genocide survivors to their children, and even grandchildren if major parenting styles aren't changed.

So, back to what you are saying, I'm sure it's quite possible there was a little something hiding in her genes that just couldn't let go of the squat.

 last year 

I've also read a lot of studies showing that PTSD can and has been passed down from Khmer Rouge genocide survivors to their children, and even grandchildren...

That is phenomenal, and gives much credence to the theory of 'Genetic Memory'

It’s great for pooping, much healthier than sitting!

I really miss the squat toilets. We haven't encountered one yet in the western hemisphere, nor a butt blaster.

I can squat and do this a lot. But many people in the western world can´t, my girlfriend included. It´s common in Bali and Russia as well.

When you mention Russia, I can't help but think of all those "Slavs squatting in tracksuits" memes. I've lived in Albania, not Slavic, and the "stroll" reigned supreme there. Based off all the countless pictures, I know the Slavs squat a lot too.

Maybe a SE Asian vs Slav squat-off is in order, but the name is certainly not catchy.

Sorry, overlooked your reply. Would be interesting to find out where this type of sitting comes from, because I also heard it can have some health benefits.

That would be awesome, if it not already exists :) Finding the right name can´t be that tricky though. let's see if I can think of anything

All over Asia, man. In japan adults don’t do it in public, it probably isn’t considered very good manners here but I like it. I always end up squatting on my tippie toes because my center of gravity is off but I’m doing squats now so I think I’ll get it soon, after 12 years

What you say makes perfect sense. I've seen a lot of Asian countries doing the squat, but it seems outside Cambodia/Laos, their is a little more protocol, and one could say some consider it uncouthe to squat in certain situations.

 last year 
I could do that when I was younger, but not since arthritis has settled into my knees. 😒 I've seen photos of people (probably my age, or older) squatting and I've wonder how they manage. Perhaps, arthritis is not so common an affliction among people who are of Asean ancestry, or maybe the frequent squatting helps to keep the joints free of arthritis...? 🤔

I think they just keep moving until they can't. I've seen many elderly Khmers who are very mobile suffer a small injury which keeps them in bed for a few weeks, and sometimes they never regain that mobility. I'm not even 40 yet, but I already have some bad knees, but aim to squat all the way to the golden years.

Why your idea has me a lot?

You are a good model, plus you're Cambodian. When you make a post about the best way to eat potatoes, you can use my Irish-blooded ginger self to model it.

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And on a good day I can put my socks on...

I think the only way those old Khmer folks squat into their old age is that they never stop doing it, otherwise they’d probably get too stiff within a week. I am no spring chicken myself, and I’m starting to learn the need to stay limber.

NİCE photo collage

Thank you @kingturk, the idea randomly popped into my head because of seeing so many squats in all our photos.

I feel a song coming called "Do the squat" ;) Let's do it.

You know a Thai band appropriate for the job at hand?

Indeed I don't. :)

Lol, to visions of large westerners trying to squat!

It's a useful position for gardening too, when you don't want to let your bum touch the ground where there might be mud, chicken poop, wet or just cold. Unfortunately, whenever I stand up after a while of squatting my feet have usually gone numb! 😆 I have to remember to shift my weight up off my calves occasionally, to let the blood flow more freely.

My youngest daughter struggles with this flat footed, because her achilles don't have much flex. She used to walk around on her tiptoes all the time when she was little. It means she's pretty good at pointing her feet for dance and gymnastics, but she has to balance on toes when in a squat.

The squat to stay clean while hanging out on messy surfaces is a crucial move.

I just noticed something the other day too, that when squatting we have more a child's view of the world, more parallel, allowing us to see more of the world under our feet. I always see some cool insect life when squatting around the house, and it brings back the kid in me a bit.