Join us at Asheville Mothership on Wednesdays from 2 to 3:15pm for Pelvic Floor and Abdominal Reintegration for Women. Please bring your yoga mat, if you have one. Price is: $10 per class. In celebration of our grand opening, and all of you lovely mamas in the community, this first class will be free! Come join the community!
Appreciating your pelvic floor and core
Since having your baby, you may have noticed the drastic changes in your pelvic floor and core. Those muscles at the base of your pelvis support your internal organs and, when toned, they prevent the internal organs such as the bladder and uterus from drooping (pelvic organ prolapse). Your aching low back is less likely to take on more work than it should when those impressive pelvic floor muscles do their fair share. The pelvic floor is responsible for your bladder and bowel control (when a sneeze ends with a little urine leak, that is a sign the pelvic floor muscles are not working as efficiently as they could). Those perineal muscles help during a vaginal birth to guide baby down and push baby out. Then there is the matter of sex to consider. Healthy pelvic floor muscles are directly responsible for the amount of sensation that women (and their men) feel during lovemaking.
It may be time to appreciate the very important role of your pelvic floor muscles and how they contribute to your overall well-being.
Moving with awareness and precision can help a woman learn how to support herself from the inside with specific, targeted breathing, toning and releasing practices. Deeper muscles near the spine awaken and act as an inner “spanx” a strong and flexible girdle of support that surrounds your pelvis to improve posture, slim your profile by tucking in the belly pooch and boost your pleasure potential.
Often the muscles of the pelvic area can be overly tight for a variety of reasons including abuse, chronic stress, fear of losing control or a habit of holding in the belly for aesthetic or protective reasons. On the other hand, the pelvic floor can have low tone when a woman has disconnected from her perineum and has little body awareness or sensation, like a missing puzzle piece in that region of the body. Factors that may play a role are the pain and discomfort following birth, social conditioning to ignore or dislike the normal process of menstruation and a poor body image. Sometimes both excessive tone and low tone can simultaneously occur in different areas of the perineum.
Through developing insight into where tension is held and where sensation is not available, we can compassionately reacquaint ourselves with this very personal part of our body. To help improve the ability to sense where tension is, it is helpful to reduce the background noise in the body by releasing pain and aligning the body so the muscles have a chance to relax. In that condition, it is easier to discern subtle sensations and changes. It may feel empowering as you come to know and trust the wise design of your own body, perhaps for the first time.
Regaining a healthy resiliency in the pelvic floor is not only a physical asset; it is an emotional ally as well. The very foundation of our spine may be the best place to begin building a secure sense of self. Balance here is as important as it is in every other area of our lives. It is equally vital to balance the strength with the release of the muscles. Forget the advice to squeeze the muscles that control the flow of urine as you would do in kegel exercises. That approach may emphasize only one part of the equation; the strong squeeze. The other part of the equation is the relaxation. The technique involves the mouth, tongue and jaw which correlate directly to the ability of the cervix, vagina and anus to open. While it may seem odd to coordinate different parts of the body with the pelvic floor, it is actually the unfamiliar combinations of movement with breathing, strengthening and relaxing that allow our brains to heighten awareness, learn new skills and install new patterns of efficient movement.
EXPERIENCED, REGISTERED PRENATAL YOGA TEACHER E-RYT
TRAUMA-SENSITIVE YOGA THERAPIST E-RYT(500)
DAO FLOW YOGA PRACTITIONER
Margaret is the founder of Om Baby Birth Support, which supports women’s well-being during pregnancy and birth. She is an experienced prenatal yoga teacher (E-RPYT, Experienced, Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher), as well as a birth doula. Margaret is trained in the Kripalu style of yoga and has been consistently teaching for 16 years. She completed her certification as a trauma-informed Yoga Therapist at the 500-Hour level in May, 2013. In addition, she is certified as a Dao Flow Yoga practitioner. Dao Flow is a one-of-a-kind style of yoga that merges the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine with the practice of yoga for women’s hormonal health.