In Part 1, I described the anatomy and function of the pelvic diaphragm. Now I’ll talk about how to take healing into your own hands and care for your pelvic diaphragm before any problems arise, or reverse the tension or weakness that you are currently experiencing.
Unfortunately, due to shame, fear or embarrassment, many people suffer in silence with pelvic floor dysfunction, which left untreated will only worsen over time. Even more troubling is the fact that when people do seek help, they may be given bad advice from professionals untrained in the area of pelvic floor health. The best advice is to seek out a pelvic floor physiotherapist, or a certified Yoga Tune Up® teacher.
When the pelvic floor is weak and unable to properly support the lower abdominal organs, it can result in incontinence of the bladder or rectum, prolapse of an organ causing pain or discomfort, weak muscles supporting the vagina or prostate – affecting sexual pleasure and function, and even inefficient respiration and a general lack of core strength and stability. When the pelvic floor is hypertonic and tight due to too much “clenching”, it can result in pain, restricted movement, constipation, urinary retention, vaginismus (excessively contracted vagina causing pain during intercourse) and poor breathing mechanics. (In this case – no Kegels! – lengthen PF muscles) Also, imbalance and dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles can refer pain anywhere in the body!
Here are some great exercises helpful in maintaining or strengthening your pelvic floor.
“Tune Up Tadasana” Posture! Get brain over heart, ribcage over pelvis – breathe.
SQUAT! – breathe – relax pelvic floor (if PF weak –pull up gently on exhale, relax on inhale)
Uddihyana Bandha –connect respiratory & pelvic diaphragms, massage abdominal viscera
Happy Baby – pry open the pelvic floor, encourage sacral nutation, cultivate awareness
Baddhakonasana – stretches pelvic floor and adductors
Adductor Slides – strengthen inner thigh muscles and pelvic floor
Frog Crawls/Frog at the Dock – open pelvic floor and hips
Moon Rises Minivini – external and internal hip rotation
Savasana – Breathe, Relax and Renew – down-regulate nervous system
In addition to these pelvic floor exercises, roll out with you Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls – special attention to hips and buttocks, lower back, feet and lower legs. Also, you can try very gentle compression on the perineum with a soft, “broken-in” ball, and soft cushioning under the ball.
Finally, get to know your body – all of it – including your perineum, your pelvic diaphragm and all adjacent and related muscles. Learn how to isolate and differentiate between the actions of these muscles, and how to feel and control contraction and relaxation of them.
For help with this:
Find a Yoga Tune Up® teacher in your area and start tuning up!
Julie Wiebe PT – YouTube channel – watch “The Fit Floor” parts 1,2,3 and “The Core Machine: Gears Gotta Move” www.juliewiebept.com
Katy Bowman – www.alignedandwell.com
Blandine Calais-Germain – “The Female Pelvis- Anatomy and Exercises”