Yoga and Pelvic What? …You Know, “Down There.”

Via on Jan 4, 2012

Some of my friends have drawn a blank when it comes to yoga and the pelvic floor. “What’s that?” they might ask, or “Why?” is another question that sometimes comes up.

Evolution of the Human Pelvis.
One of the many great illustrations from 'Pelvic Power' by Eric Franklin.

What’s a pelvic floor?

Humans and other primates are in principle quadrupeds, whose legs were stretched horizontally backward and then rotated by 90 degrees. Suddenly the weight of the inner organs lay no longer on the abdominal wall, but on the pelvis. In order for the bowels not to fall embarrassingly to the ground, the tail, which at first was stretched out and reaching to the back, had to be pulled in and shortened in order for the new floor to be closed off. Furthermore, the muscles used to move the tail were reinforced and the connective tissue made thicker.
~Eric Franklin, ‘Pelvic Power’

The pelvic floor is made up of muscle groups and connective tissue at the base of the torso where we sit. It forms a protective barrier and essential support structure between our internal organs and the outside world. It is often a quiet and pacified region of the body, because even when we have active lifestyles we are often seated, sometimes in cars, airplanes or at a desk. The pelvic floor becomes stiff and stagnant for many of us, and might also be weak.

Yoga at the “Y,” why?
virasana brooks hallYoga can be a great way to wake up a stagnant “seat.” And just as we learn to spread our toes and extend our arms, should we not also learn how to release, stretch and strengthen the muscles responsible for so much at the base of our torsos at the seat?

Some physical concerns that can benefit from pelvic floor yoga:
* pelvic pain
* leak when laughing or sneezing
* lower back, hip or groin problems
* have to go the bathroom too often
* discomfort during sex or while using tampons
* prolapsed organs
* skin irritation
* pregnancy and birth

This list includes things that are specific to women’s bodies, and I want to honor that I believe that men can also benefit from some pelvic floor specific work.

Now a shameless plug for my pelvic floor yoga teacher:

Leslie HowardLeslie Howard is offering her first ever 5-day pelvic floor yoga training for women in Chicago at Yogaview from February 11, 2012 to the 15th. The final 3 days are sure to be an intensified experience that is available only to teachers, teachers in training, and serious students. Time to get serious about our pelvic floors, women!

I am so excited about this work as well as the training, and so I’m shouting it out here at Elephant so women who might need to fly into beautiful Chicago will have time to make their plans! It is sure to be a very special Valentine’s Day for our pelvises!

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About Brooks Hall

Brooks Hall is a Yogic Muse from Chicago, Illinois. In this capacity she teaches Yoga, writes about Yoga, and generally enjoys it. You can find her at: brookshall.blogspot.com.

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14 Responses to “Yoga and Pelvic What? …You Know, “Down There.””

  1. Candice Garrett Candice Garrett says:

    Having worked with a few men, they do need pelvic floor work and can definately benefit from it…although, as expected it's quite different in many ways, both the problems and the solutions… See you in Chicago!

  2. Matthew Cohen says:

    I'm a man who experiences sometimes severe pain and discomfort from a weak/injured pelvic floor. It took me a long time to find out what was going on because this is a rarely discussed region – especially for young men. Thanks for bringing attention to the issue!

  3. Meghan says:

    Thank you Waylon for posting this! I wish there was more public awareness of pelvic floor issues. I had horrible PF pain after my first birth. I was in HORRIBLE pain and saw chiropractors, massage therapists, dry needle practitioners, acupuncturists etc etc. It was by complete chance that I ran into Dr. Neujahr who used physical therapy to strengthen my "girl" muscles that were traumatized from labor using trigger point and biofeedback techniques. If you are suffering from pelvic floor pain, please call her! She is amazing!!! Just to forewarn you, I though I would be doing ball exercises and lifting, NOT the case. You get your feet up in stirrups, more akin to your OBGYN visit…of course there ARE flor exercises, the majority of the work is done internally. Check them out there: http://www.n2pt.org/

  4. Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

    GREAT article!!

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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  5. Valerie Carruthers ValCarruthers says:

    So glad you mentioned Eric Franklin. His books, Pelvic Power and Dynamic Alignment Through Imagery, are both brilliant. The workshop sounds AWESOME. <3

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