If you’ve ever been pregnant (which if you’re here I’m assuming you probably have) you will have heard of pelvic floor exercises. They’re pretty darned important should you wish to hold in your wee for the rest of your days, so well worth genning up on.
Pelvic floor exercises are often called Kegels, named after the (male of course) gynecologist who ‘invented’ them. According to Wikipedia, “Arnold H. Kegel M.D., F.A.C.S. (1894–1981) was a gynecologist who invented the Kegel Perineometer (used for measuring vaginal air pressure) and Kegel exercises (squeezing of the muscles of the pelvic floor).”
Don’t know about you, but I’m not crazy about the idea of having my vaginal air pressure measured, but I’ve also always found it rather amusing that a man *invented* the squeezing of the vaginal muscles (or is that just me?).
Yogis have been doing abdominal decompression exercises for thousands of years, during Pranayama (yoga breath) – Mula Bandha (pelvic floor or root lock) and Supta Uddiyana Bandha* (lying down abdominal decompression)
I guide clients through elements of this Pranayama, Bandha and decompression practice as part of my programs, but essentially it is a beautifully relaxing and highly beneficial breathing technique, which ‘draws up’ and contracts the pelvic floor muscles. It has the added benefit of helping you to really connect with and engage the vital core muscles.
A wonderful book I would like to recommend to you whether you’re pregnant or already a mum is Mother’s Breath, by Uma Dinsmore-Tuli – I wish I’d been a student of hers when I was pregnant 3 and 4 years ago… possibly that helipcopter might have been avoided 🙁
So my advice today is:
1. DO your pelvic floor exercises. (PS. They’re yours, ignore anyone who tells you they invented them).
2. Take just a few moments today to take some full, deep, yoga breaths into your rib-cage and your tummy, NOT just into your shoulders and throat. Without hunching your shoulders, fill your lungs, feeling your ribs and tummy expand. Then gently expel all the air, drawing your pelvic floor up and your drawing your tummy button in towards your spine on the exhale. Do this a few times… you’ll be more relaxed immediately!
The above breathing practice is the fore-runner to the full Bandhas and decompressions of the abdomen, and can be done safely at any stage of pregnancy or motherhood. Let me know if you like it!
And Relax…… 🙂
* Concepts reproduced with kind permission, Copyright Uma Dinsmore-Tuli: ‘Mother’s Breath’ 2006