A topic that is often avoided or spoken of in hushed tones is that of the pelvic floor. Not in my classes though! I regularly discuss and teach about pelvic floor function in both my women’s wisdom and pregnancy yoga classes in Watford.
As women, there are many taboo areas of our bodies that many amazing women in the mainstream are now challenging to bring out into the light.
The beauty of shining our awareness on these often hidden, dark recesses of the female form is that it brings acceptance, reduces the sense of shame that’s often experienced and above all else, it’s incredibly educational. Women are now so blessed with the ability to find out more about their lady parts than our own grandmother’s were ever able to.
So the first part of the focus needs to be on ‘releasing‘ the pelvic floor muscles. “Why would you do that?” I can hear many of you ask.
The reason is quite simple…we have spent far too long holding and squeezing the muscles of this area of our body, that we’ve forgotten how to let go of them. Secondly, a muscle that is really, really tight is weak.
One of the biggest problems with incontinence is that women are told to do more pelvic floor work / kegels. Whilst this may be necessary, they are often not taught how to engage the muscles properly with the breath, but often just squeeze and squeeze harder. This results in these muscles becoming fatigued and less responsive.
How to release the pelvic floor
Being able to relax and release these muscles first of all, will lead to better function and reduced pain (if being experienced). There are many ways of releasing, but I have suggested two exercises below you may like to try.
Visualise your vaginal muscles as though they were a tight flower bud: On the inhale (really important we work with the breath), imagine that the muscles of the vagina are slowly opening like the petals of a flower.
Be aware if you find yourself bringing in tension. If this happens, pause for a few breaths and get a little more comfortable then begin again.
Ensure your body feels super supported (refer to image below).
Try this for 5 breath cycles
Sit bone spread – taking the Child’s pose posture which we use quite frequently in class. If your bottomÂ does not reach the heels of your feet, don’t worry! Place a cushion there.
Bring your hands round to the back of the pelvis to first locate your sit bones just to help you identify the area we are working from (these are the bony protrusions you often feel when sitting down and then wiggle from side to side you get a sense of where they are).
Again working with the inhale, imagine that your sit bones are spreading apart as you breathe in.
Try this for 5 breath cycles.