The Absolute Best Pooping Posture

Although both comfortable and convenient, it turns out sitting on the toilet is not the best position to take when defecating. Both scientists and historians agree: squatting is a more natural and healthy way to go number two.

History tells us that toilets were only invented in the 19th century, as an attempt to create a more civilized way of going to the bathroom. Obviously, the trend caught on in the West. The only problem is, sitting is not how our bodies actually evolved to eliminate, and so the act of sitting on the toilet contributes to a whole host of health problems, including bloating, constipation, hemorrhoids and straining.

Not eliminating regularly or completely can also disturb your gut health and increase toxins in your body, as fecal elimination is one of the main ways the body rids itself of toxins. Squatting instead of sitting can help remedy these issues.

Here’s how it works:

When you sit, the angle at which you’re holding your body causes your puborectalis muscle to block your rectum. This means that sitting down actually results in obstructing elimination, which is definitely not what you want when you’re trying to go to the bathroom. This is why you may often feel like you have to strain to eliminate everything when you sit on a toilet.

Squatting, on the other hand, is how our bodies were built to eliminate. The simple act of raising your legs a few inches naturally relaxes the puborectalis muscle, and opens the passageways to allow for easier elimination. Studies support this conclusion, and have shown that squatting to poop takes both less effort and less time.

Ready to make the switch? Here are some tips on finding the posture that will allow you to defecate with the ease of your ancestors.

Place some blocks next to your toilet. This will allow you to raise your legs slightly without having to take on the full squatting position, which requires a lot of flexibility in the hips and legs. If you really want to invest in this lifestyle change, there are also several products designed for this very purpose, such as the Squatty Potty.

Wrap your arms around your knees. As you’re sitting on the toilet, raise your knees to your chest and wrap your arms around them to keep them in place. Although this isn’t ideal in the long term, it does work if you’re away from home, or if you just want to try out the new posture once or twice before committing.

Stretch. Although squatting comes naturally to people in places like Asia where squat toilets are the norm, sitting on a toilet our whole lives means that most of us lack the necessary coordination and flexibility to perch at the optimal angle. Practicing some yoga poses or stretches that focus on opening the hips and inner thighs will make this process go a lot smoother.

Although you probably don’t want to exchange your toilet for a hole in the ground, integrating the small changes above into your bathroom routine can make a huge difference to your bowel health, so don’t be afraid to give them a try!