Fitness experts all over the world rave about the benefits of squats. From strengthening your knees to improving your digestion, squats are one of the most revered exercises around. After some recent travel to Vietnam, I came home in awe, not just of Vietnam—one of the best places to visit in Asia in my book—but of the Vietnamese people and their ability to rest in a squatted position for hours at a time. This post is my tribute to the Vietnamese Squat. But first, here’s a short instructional video on how to do the Asian Squat.
The Hawking Asian Squat
This delightful young woman tried to sell us her sweet confections on our way into the city market in Hanoi. We politely told her “no for now,” but that we would buy some on our way out. Somehow, she managed to spot us exiting the market amid the thousands of other shoppers and tourists. She chased us down, and as impressed as we were, gladly bought some donuts. They were fantastic!
The Crafting Squat
On our visit to the Kim Bong Carpentry Village we were amazed at the intricate wood carvings handcrafted by one of the local artisan families. I’m not exactly sure what this young lady was doing, but she did it all from this Asian squat. The Kim Bong Carpentry Village has been revered since the 16th century for their world-class woodwork and wood carvings.
The Scamming Asian Squat
This man was relentless! He saw that the sole of my husband’s sneaker was beginning to separate and insisted on fixing it. Greg declined at least a dozen times, but finally the man just squatted and began applying glue. My husband tipped him 2000 dong, which sounded like a lot to us. In reality, it turned out to be less than a dime. The man objected loudly and insisted on considerably more money. We ended up giving him 40,000 dong, which is about $1.75. Admittedly, not a bad price for a shoe repair, except we didn’t want it fixed in the first place!
The Gardening Squat
Now, I will admit that this guy isn’t doing a true Asian squat, as his heels aren’t flat on the ground. But his ability to easily tend the garden in this squatted position was still impressive. This was taken at the Tra Que Organic Village, which has a restaurant that raises most of its own produce. We took a cooking lesson there, too, where we learned to make banh xeo, or Vietnamese pancakes.
The Parenting Asian Squat
In So Village we met several young children who were delighted to have foreign visitors. This little one was so adorable I gave her a sheet of Disney stickers. This precious picture is of her mother teaching her to say thank you with a polite bow.
The Washing Squat
I’m not sure if this man was prepping for his own family’s dinner or if he was washing these pig parts for some commercial venture. But he did it all from an Asian squat on the floor of his home. We found that many entrepreneurs worked like this from their homes.
Much thanks to Cher Megasko, author of Bucket List Travel Club. Traveling has always been a passion of Cher’s, but it wasn’t until a few years back that she started traveling in earnest. That’s when she found her true zen. Traveling made her happier than she’d ever been in her life. So she surrendered her corporate badge, renewed her passport and embraced a whole new life of excitement and adventure.