How familiar are you with your pelvic floor? Does most of your understanding include a limited description of how to do a kegel? Are you even sure what a kegel is? Usually when we are told to do kegels, we are told to tighten the muscles that we feel when we stop the flow of urine. Unfortunately, this is a pretty vague description of what is happening down there. The pelvic floor is a diamond shape system of muscles that lie at the base of the pelvis, between the pubic bone, tail bone, and two sitting bones. There are three layers of pelvic floor muscles that help hold everything in. These muscles are an important part of your core and keeping your pelvic floor healthy is vital to regaining core strength after you have a baby. If you are currently pregnant, you can imagine that the weight of baby can stretch the pelvic floor muscles, but that doesn’t mean you have to pee your pants every time you laugh for the rest of your life! In fact, pregnancy is a great time to start getting in touch with how to lengthen AND strengthen your pelvic floor. So, how do you do that? One great way is yoga. Learning how to engage your pelvic floor while practicing yoga is excellent exercise. First, it’s important to make sure you are in tune with how to activate and release the muscles while in a neutral pelvis position.
Take a seat on a stool sitting directly on top of your two sitting bones. Rock side to side in order to feel both sitting bones grounding evenly into the stool and as you come to a still seat, notice if you’re able to feel the natural curve of your low back. It’s important to make sure you aren’t tucking your tail or over arching your lumbar spine so try and find the sense that both your tail bone and pubic bone pointing downward evenly to find a neutral pelvis position in which you can feel your spine lengthen from. Take a few deep breaths here, filling the entire torso with air and slowly exhaling. On the next inhale, imagine the diaphragm (the dome shaped organ right below your rib cage) flattening down toward your pelvis allowing the pelvic floor to soften and spread. On your exhale, imagine the pelvic floor muscles drawing together at the perineum (the space between the vaginal and anal openings) and lifting the perineum toward the crown of your head. With every breath, work on releasing your pelvic floor on each inhale, gathering and lifting the muscles on each exhale. Take this as an opportunity to begin to notice which area you find it difficult to engage or stretch in an effort to get to know what you may need more for your body (stretching or engaging?). Once this work begins to feel comfortable, slowly bring it into your yoga practice.
Some great beginning poses to hold and use this breath work include: warrior 2, triangle pose, chair pose, downward facing dog, and child’s pose. If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to join me for a yoga class at You and the Mat in Laguna Niguel on Tuesday evenings or anytime online at www.devataactive.com. Use the promo code AURORA for a free month trial. I’d love to connect and answer any questions you may have. You can follow me @wellalignedwoman or email me at email@example.com. Be well and aligned!