For everyone, but especially for women outdoors

Most toddlers can squat easily, but in our western lifestyle we can lose that ability.

Regaining our ability to squat has benefits for everyone. Whether we’re unpacking gear from a rucksack, talking to a small child, or loading a washing machine.

Because if we can bend fully at the knees and hips, we don’t need to bend so much in the spine.

But it’s especially important for outdoor women, since we – unlike the men – need to squat when we pee! Sinking the hips fully (rather than “hovering”) allows us to completely empty the bladder and reduce the risk of UTIs. I include Garland Pose (Malasana) in most of the classes I teach. My students sometimes grumble because they find it difficult, but there are lots of accessible variations.

Make Garland Pose easier by taking a wider stance and turning your toes out. Many people also find it easier to keep the heels raised slightly. Other variations include a block to support your pelvis, a rolled mat to support your heels, support behind the knees, and allowing the hands to come to the floor.

Seek medical advice before trying any of the following poses if: you have a hip or knee injury; you have had a hip or knee replacement; or if you have a health condition affecting your hips or knees.

Sequence by Vertical Yoga. Images copyright

Practice sinking your hips to your heels until you can do it anywhere – especially in the mountains and at the crags.

(But please take your toilet paper home with you, ladies!)