9.24.15
Let’s Talk About It: How To Do Yoga For Your Pelvic Floor

We know it’s important to get our heart rate up, strength train, and stretch on the regular – but exercising our pelvic floor muscles? Honestly, it’s not something we’ve ever really thought about. Yoga instructor Karly Treacy of Exhale Venice has us taking a second look at a set of muscles we all need to pay more attention to to strengthen from the inside out. 

There are muscles you might not even know you have that are responsible for your flattest belly, your most satisfying orgasm and a healthy lower back: your pelvic-floor muscles.

Most women discover the pelvic floor muscles after childbirth or in later years when urine leakage or vaginal noise becomes an issue. Yes, vaginal noise. Especially as a practitioner of yoga or Pilates, when women with weak or too-tight pelvic-floor muscles invert, the vagina will suck up air and ultimately gravity will audibly pull it out, resulting in… noise. But if you get to know your pelvic floor now, you could have stronger and flatter abs, more intense orgasms and prevent future issues, such as the aforementioned.

Recently there have been publications talking about internal releasing of tight pelvic-floor muscles by qualified clinicians. With breath, your own hands and a tennis ball, you can achieve nearly the same results at home. Here are five key reasons you want to get to know your pelvic floor…

FLATter BELLY

The pelvic-floor muscles have a direct relationship with the deepest layer of abdominal muscles, the transversus abdominus (TVA). When the pelvic-floor muscles are strong and functioning properly, TVA automatically engages pulling all of the abdominal muscles in.

MORE PLEASURE

Too many women do not orgasm or their orgasms are not “When Harry Met Sally” Meg-Ryan-in-the-diner style. More often than not, it’s due to weak pelvic-floor (PF) muscles

LESS EMBARRASSMENT

Avoid “varting” and peeing your pants when you laugh or jump or sneeze.

EASIER PREGNANCY

Make pregnancy a bit easier on your body. The PF muscles support the uterus, bladder, etc.

LOWER BACK SUPPORT

Because of the relationship the PF muscles have with the TVA muscles, a healthy, strong pelvic floor can mitigate many back pains.

3 Ways to strengthen your pelvic floor

ADDRESS TIGHT MUSCLES

First with breath: Lying on your back, hug both knees into your chest. Take 10 rounds of breath, inhaling to your maximum potential so the diaphragm and the pelvic floor expands and then exhale completely.

Next with a tennis ball: Seated, with a tennis ball beneath your sit bone, allow it to roll toward the center of your body (vagina-ward). Along the way you might find some tender spots. Use the tennis ball like acupressure and let the ball rest on those muscles and breathe until they start to release. Then move to the other sit bone.

Lastly, skin pulling: All along the pubic bone and sit bones, gently pull the skin away from the bone.

LEARN TO DO KEGELS

Most of us know of Kegels as the exercise performed to stop the flow of urine. I am here to tell you that performing the exercise in this manner will do nothing to strengthen the pelvic floor – and can actually cause tightening of the wrong muscles, which in turn can lead to urinary incontinence and painful sex.

Performing a Kegel has nothing to do with stopping the flow of urine. It has to do with recruiting the muscles of the pelvic floor in a way that draws the muscles together and then lifting them to create strength.

Imagine the muscles between the two sits bones.

Inhale, as you exhale draw the muscles together like elevator doors closing. When the doors are closed, lift the elevator up.

Repeat for 8 breaths.

Then try it with the muscles between the pubic bone and the tailbone for 8 breaths.

Last, draw all 4 of the points together and lift for 8 breaths.

KEEP TRYING!

I did not “get it” until maybe the 50th attempt. When I finally did get it, I realized it was completely different from anything I had ever been instructed to do in the past. What I had been doing felt like just squeezing my vagina. Working my muscles in this way felt much different and I could tell right away how the pelvic floor and the abdominals were related. After working my pelvic floor muscles in this way, I immediately noticed a flattening of my lowest belly muscles. No more poochiness? Yes, please.


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Leave A Comment

  1. Thanks for raising the awareness of the importance of Kegels for women. Interesting to read your statement above “Performing a Kegel has nothing to do with stopping the flow of urine”. This probably needs to be corrected to make this article more accurate for women. In fact the pelvic floor muscles play a definite role in helping to stop the flow of urine – as pelvic floor physiotherapists we often teach this as a strategy for women to use to identify their pelvic floor muscles. Women can also use flow stopping as an occasional test of their pelvic floor muscle strength over time. We don’t recommend doing this as an exercise or for women with urinary retention. Thanks again for your article



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