In last weeks class we discussed our pelvic floor during pregnancy.
Our fears of incontinence, prolapse and tearing during labour.
How we can work together with our body and our breath.
What can we do to support our bodies?
Having strong pelvic floor muscles can help hold and carry our baby without putting increased pressure on our back or other parts of the body. This can allow us greater freedom of movement as our babies grow and our body changes.
As well as STRENGTH we are also looking for SOFTNESS.
- The strength to carry the extra weight of our baby, placenta and amniotic fluid.
- And the softness to release and allow our baby to enter the world.
They are equally important during pregnancy to help prepare our body for birth.
What are they?
Imagine an empty hammock, tied between two trees. These are your pelvic floor muscles.
They span the bottom pf the pelvis and support your pelvic organs.
They are your bladder, your uterus (womb) and bowel.
As babies grow the uterus (womb) expands. This puts extra pressure onto the hammock (pelvic floor muscles) which is why you may find you need to wee lots.
The ropes of the hammock (ligaments) also begin to stretch so you may feel some pain in the lower back or into the hip crease at the front as they lengthen out.
What do they do?
They are our foundation.
These muscles connect us to our root energy. They help us to feel supported, safe and connected to the earth.
When this part of us is not in balance, we can feel disconnected from ourselves, from our own bodies and even from being here. We can feel stuck or try to hold onto things too tightly in order to satisfy our need for security.
This can bring us to a place of feeling anxious or fearful and make it more difficult to soften and let go.
As with any new technique it takes a little time and practise, so don’t worry if you don’t ‘get it’ straight away.
The more you support yourself the more you will attract support.
What does it feel like?
It is best to practise these excises, sat, kneeling or lying down and in a place you feel safe to close your eyes and relax.
- Tighten your back passage, though you are trying to stop passing wind
- Imagine that you are lifting up and forwards.
- Then squeeze walls of the vagina.
- Hold for 3 seconds and then release for 3 seconds.
- Repeat 10 times.
You can slowly build this up to holding for longer (up to 10 seconds.)
Build up slowly and with awareness. Close your eyes.
Work with intention and energy, shifting your focus inwards.
You may feel a little vulnerable, especially as you begin to soften and let go. We often hold onto this area of our bodies a lot so just notice any resistance that comes up for you. We don’t have to understand it or control it, just observe.
Am I doing it right?
These muscles work together subtly and deeply, there is no need for big movements.
The rest of your body should be relaxed, including the face, jaw, shoulders, buttocks and thighs.
Rest your hand lightly on your belly as you are squeezing. There should be no tightening and very little movement.
It may take a while before it comes naturally to you, but having awareness and control of these muscles leads to awakening a deep inner strength. Allowing your whole body to feel grounded and stable.
The importance of your breath.
Your BREATH is your best friend. Integrating this movement with your breath will help you foster a deep relationship and awareness of your pelvic floor.
- Inhale as you lift and engage.
- Exhale as you soften.
Allow your breath to flow in at your own pace. Never restrict or hold the breath during pregnancy.
Adding a sign, hum or any sound the exhale can allow the body to soften deeper.
When to do this?
Try to find a moment every day to practice, maybe when you are waiting for the kettle to boil or as you are stopped at a red light.
This a gentle process that takes time to master but well worth getting to know.
It is especially useful during our pregnancy and labour but also throughout the seasons of our feminine sexual cycle.