Illustration from the Yoga Nashit book.
“Yoga Nashit - Women's Health through Yoga”
What do you know about your pelvic floor?
Do you know where it's located in your body?
Do you know its boundaries?
The pelvis itself is right at the base of your spine and is a strong and stable bony structure. In the back of the pelvis we have the sacrum with the tailbone and the sacroiliac joints. On both sides we have the ilium bones; in front we have the symphysis pubis joint. Located at the bottom we have the Ischium bones which are the sitting bones.
The upper boundary of the pelvis is the lower abdomen; the lower boundary is your pelvic floor muscles.
The pelvic floor muscles have many functions, these are some examples:
To Support the abdominal organs and the pelvis;
To control the urinary system, the digestive system and reproductive system;
To stabilize the Posture –of the hips and spine;
To serve as a lymph fluid pump.
What is the connection between the pelvic floor muscles and the respiratory diaphragm?
Your pelvic floor is like a diaphragm, a hammock or a trampoline. Together with the breathing diaphragm at the base of your lungs, they both serve as a pressure box assisting each other in preventing downward pressure towards the pelvic opening, whenever there is intra-abdominal pressure. This pressure rises whenever you talk, laugh, cough, carry heavy loads jump and the list is long…
In Yoga Nashit - Yoga for Women, we refer to the diaphragm connection with the imagery of a cord or a guitar string that can be precisely tuned: If over stretched it will tear, if too loose it will not produce its unique sound.
In Latin PELVIS means basin or bucket, both of which the anatomic pelvis resembles. Over the pelvic floor is the pelvis which contains these inner organs: The bladder and urethra, the uterus, cervix and vagina, and the lower part of the digestive system – the rectum.
Furthermore it contains a complex network of muscles, ligaments and connective tissue intended to separate the pelvic organs and intended to serve as a smoothing plane between them.
How is the females pelvis different than the males’ one?
In this unique part of the body the differentiation is intended to enable the female body to have a baby comfortably develop, and take the journey out of his mother’s womb through the pelvic bones, that will need to expand so that when giving birth their size allows the baby’s head to advance through the cervix and birth canal.
The female pelvis:
Is wider, flatter, has a larger opening, the bones are thinner, the muscles are smaller, the sacrum is wider which allows the hips bones to be more distanced.
Furthermore, the female pelvis contains the vaginal opening, rectum and urethra. The presence of these three opening weakens the structure of the female pelvis.
What is the structure pelvic floor?
It's like a hammock of muscles, located at the bottom of the floor pelvic basin. The functions of these muscles have a big role in determining your life's quality. If these muscles are weak, it will disturb your daily function. If the pelvic floor muscles are too tight it will hinder daily function and even can disrupt your sex life. When correctly gathering these muscles the bladder and rectum will relax, thus preventing leakage of urine, gases and stool.
However there is a need for most of us to learn how to properly work with these hidden muscles! They are located far from the brain, hidden from the eye, and are much easier to compress instead of to collect.
It is advisable to turn to a pelvic floor physiotherapist that will assist you to recognize that you are practicing these muscles correctly.
You may ask why this is so important.
It is important for your daily functions, for the rest of your life!
When you laugh, sneeze, run, walk upstairs, or carry your daily shopping. You need your pelvic floor muscles to function properly, to prevent urine incontinence, organ prolapse and other pelvic floor disorders.
It is important to know that in order to rehabilitate and strengthen these muscles, you have to know how to properly operate and strengthen them.
You have urine stress incontinence, if you are unable to control your bladder, it will force you to urinate at inconvenient times. However you can take control over this situation by a proper practice and strengthening these involuntary muscles, by learning how to activate them in a voluntary way.
If you are worried that you are experiencing pelvic organs prolapse, in one of the fowling organs bladder, uterus, or rectum – you can take responsibility and you can improve their position by proper activation of the pelvic floor muscles, by practicing appropriate and correct movement, intended to prevent or treat an existing prolapse. Even if you are due to have a pelvic prolapse operation you still can practice and strengthen these muscles, by learning how to change your movement habits in a consciousness way, connecting between breath and posture, thus changing your lifestyle, so that the problem will not reoccur.
An operation is not a magic cure! It is the proper treatment when there is no other option, but you can prevent its reoccurrence. Start practicing before the operation! Obtain meaningful tools that will transform your life quality. And the bonus is that this practice will also improve your sex life. Weakness in the pelvic floor muscles can cause drooping and leaks which will hinder your sexual enjoyment and may even embarrass you… If you have hypertonic pelvic floor muscles you may feel immense pain during sex. Also hormonal changes that you experience will cause changes in sexual functions, while proper movement of the area, combined with strengthened and balanced muscles – will always enhance sexual desire.
What happens during pregnancy and birth?
During pregnancy and birth the pelvic organs stretch, the pelvic muscles are weakened and the nerves leading to the pelvic may experience small tears.
But Yes! You can rehabilitate it, by appropriate exercises.
Practicing Yoga for Women is specially attuned for your pelvic floor! Any Practice that does not place your general well-being at its core, may damage your health in the short or long run.
How is it connected to the daily life?
Practicing Yoga for Women focuses on the stabilization and organization of the pelvis, and will assist you in understanding the proper posture for women, which is different than men's. Will assist you to find your appropriate movement, will ensure constant movement of the pelvic area, and will help you in understanding and even changing your movement and breathing patterns. All these will improve the functions of the pelvic organs, thus organizing and balancing your life.
It is advisable to incorporate Yoga Nashit In any physical exercise that you do:
Whether you run, swim, dance or do other physical activities, place your pelvic floor in the center of your life.
Become aware of your pelvis, recognize it, and incorporate this awareness in everything that you do!
Regular practice will also affect your emotional wellbeing, thus you will gain a stabilizing supportive place that you can constantly turn to reorganize were you are in your life.
Your pelvis contains many of your life’s secrets and will enable you to organize your life better on a daily basis.
It is the stabilizing core of your life!
Do not neglect it!
Turn to pelvic floor physiotherapist, to ensure that you properly activate it.
Practice with one of the yoga for women yoga teacher to ensure your health.