Uthak- baithak done right: decoding the Hindu way in squatting

Resonating across the old word cultural unfurling that India has lived through in its guru shisya tradition evolving to amass the greater world identity of the teacher student ‘scenario’ has however been a very desi prevalence that has since been presenting a curious sight in the whole context of the educational scene here. A tool in discipline, a means of reprimand or more simply a punishment for mischief, this amusing sounding proposition of the ‘uthak- baithak’ is what has been governing the schools of the country as the ultimate measure against any sort of wrongdoing.

The frequency of its ‘administration’ has no doubt reduced in current times given how physical punishment of any sort is sought to be done away with, even when this isn’t anything particularly harsh in its ‘inflicting’ upon young girls and boys nor is it exactly attuned to being harboured within the frowned upon corporal scheme of things. In fact, this counts even as a form of exercise, as the science behind this seeks to allude which though should be pretty much evident in the technique of how it manifests, occurring thus in global terms as ‘sit- ups’, only that one does not really take to it willingly and for fitness motivated reasons.

indian uthak baithak
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Instead, what entails to this fairly common practice through much of the span of the subcontinent indeed is the sheer humiliation that seems to be the underlying reason why it is so often prescribed as a means in ‘teaching a lesson’ to otherwise adamant kids and stubborn some pupils. But exercise it indeed is and ends up therefore imparting life lessons even other than the ones it intended to all the while prevailing as an identity that draws upon a very definite indeed form of beneficial bodily exertion.

Referred to as the Hindu squat or colloquially the desi squat is this baithak part of what most of us in this part of the world have experienced the embarrassment of in its imposed doing that we did not know then was for our own holistic benefit. Perhaps, the ones ‘anointing’ us as well with this retaliation in objectionable behavior too did not view this as anything more than a punishment versatile enough in allowing for different degrees of pain to torture the body as per the prescribed versions of it.

But now that we have come to know in some surprise the desirable derivatives of this shaming mode in uthak- baithak, we sure have once again our teachers to thank for in allowing us access to the goodness of a life they have always been revered for leading us to. And this delivers an experience in living we never knew would reveal to us in terms so unexpected but expected still in sync with the unpredictable nature of what life is known to ace its being in.

As the name suggests, Hindu squats have to be a draw upon the Hindu way of life in some form or the other. And that they are, occurring as an integral component of the fitness regime and training routine of wrestlers famed in their muscular built and physical strength, as a part of the immense thrust on bodily/ or physical movement that the existence of India in her cultural fore has forever propagated.

hindu squats indian wrestling
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The times might have changed and there might have been a revolutionary transformation in the technique and mode of exercising for gymnasts and wrestlers as well as for the common man but the Hindu squat continues to be as relevant as ever. No wonder they still form a core part of the modern day training schedule particularly for Indian wrestlers but even outside the country, these Indian squats have commanded considerable attention due to their potential in elevating the extent of benefits associated with conventional squatting exercises.

The popularity of Hindu squats might seem to arise from the essence of them being different in being a form of exercise so marked in their identification by a region or even a religion. But it is in serving to perfection the exact purpose and in extensive effectiveness as well that this amped up form of squats emerges as a now much touted prescription in exercising to both personal and professional ends.

With a range of strength and gymnastic benefits attributable to this intense indeed version of the conventional squats, this essentially complex and greatly exerting mode in fitness well surpasses the difficulty of its doing as far as endurance is concerned to come to rest in prominence on the back of its practical and powerful possessives. Add to this the time tested and established predominance of this form of squatting in its origin stretching as far back to at least the penning of the epic Ramayana as well as its advocacy within the globally renowned wellness discipline of yoga and the Hindu squats has pretty much everything working in its favor to be the ultimate mode in hardcore working out.

indian squats
Source: Fitness Drum

The more dynamic ideals across which Hindu squats unfurl are immediately apparent in the very conduct of it. Unlike conventional squats that generally do not employ the arms unless it is a specific form of them, the more intense Indian squats necessarily involve the arms within the exercise regimen. The intensity of the movement is also noticeably greater and exaggerated than the more ‘relaxed’ squatting practice. This amped up mode in performing is also matched by the expectations of the performance itself that which entails at least a 50 something even for beginners. Complex indeed already in its execution as an exercise, rendered all the more intensive in its advanced level of reach both in doing and in beckoning thus the results, desi squats thus call for greater care in performing due to the nuanced nature of its being posing greater risks of injury.

The premise of the Hindu squat is rested upon the toes over the heels as in the case of standard squatting. Even in case of employing the heels, it is a lifted form rather than the straight assertion of regular squats that define the desiness of this version of squatting. This shifting of weight on the toes as well as lifting of the heels exercises more the front part of the thighs which is an impeccable way to develop those muscles around the area. Emphasising therefore the quads in their working out is something the Indian interpretation of the squat innately dwells in. But so versatile and dynamic tends to be the range of this version in squatting that activates also the glutes and hamstrings and core and calves of the legs as well as the abs and the shoulders.

A full body workout in itself almost and somewhat athletic therefore, particularly in its exercising of the arms and knees, this high intensity routine in pursuits encompassing pretty much every fore of concentration, be it in improving strength or building muscle as well as in fostering balance of the body and aiding the burning of calories ups the bar in occurring also simultaneously as both an aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Compound and complex it might be indeed in its identifying as a gruelling regimen but consider the unexpected benefits that the Indian squat offers and one would understand the worth resting in all those residing in rigorousness.

As an exercise that calls for greater coordination of the body, they help one attains a stability and balance in their structure that is so vital an ability in pretty much everything one does in their daily life. Also it is a healthier ageing transition that the achieving in increased balance helps foster, helping to strengthen the core as well, making thus for a sure reason to incorporate this form of the squat into your workout.

As much intriguing as the very essence of the Indian squat happens also to be a particular necessity of it that might manifests as a disadvantage but carries within itself also the potential to turn out as advantageous instead. A mode of exercise that puts greater stress on the knees, this sometimes punishing, sometimes rewarding aspect of duality of the Indian sit ups plays through also in its ability to help strengthen the knees when performed correctly. Thus allowing the knees to go beyond the toe line, these squats also achieve a better grip for the toes while helping develop the muscles and ligaments around the knee joint.

An effective cardio mechanism that acts by testing breathing and in turn bringing about enhanced an effect upon it, the Hindu squat tends to be a rather inclusive workout, exerting for even the most seasoned of exercisers or even athletes but effective for one and all of course if carried out in the proper technique. Helping endow agility upon the body while increasing its stamina and maintaining the posture, enhancing shoulder mobility while developing leg power being some of the standout characteristics of the Indian squat, it is no wonder indeed that the Indian wrestlers who swear by this mode of workout exhibit exemplary swiftness and firmness in their footwork.

Particularly in combination with dands which happen to be the Indianised version of the push ups this time, the Hindu squats prove to be one of the most intense ways to test the limits indeed of the human body. That it remains not as well known though as its more global counterpart of the ‘ordinary’ squat make for a fact in much surprise but one that helps preserve the secret of our wrestlers as to what makes them the absolute best in the world.