What is Pelvic Health?
Healthy pelvic floor muscles are able to both contract and release at appropriate times. For example, when you are going to the bathroom your pelvic floor muscles need to release fully in order to eliminate fully. However, when you are playings sports these muscles want to engage and contract as to support your internal organs.
Often though we see a lack of coordination in these muscles. This can lead to organ prolapse, incontinence, pelvic pain, etc. Addressing hyper (overactive muscle contraction) and hypo (underactive muscle contraction) is essential in restoring pelvic floor health. When muscles are both able to contract and release in balance, individuals restore their pelvic health.
Yoga Practices for Restoring Balance
We can’t talk about restoring pelvic health from a yogic perspective without talking about Bandhas. Bandhas are energetic locks which have physical and energetic components.
From a physical perspective, Bandhas tone our inner muscles of the body to support and protect organs against the natural laws of gravity. From a more subtle yogic perspective, Bandhas help to retain pranic energy to balance our nervous systems.
Mula Bandha - Root Lock
Mula Bandha is one of the three major Bandhas, along with Uddiyana Bandha (upward lifting of the diaphragm) and Jalandhara Bandha (chin and throat lock). It is known as you “Root Lock”.
It is comprised of three muscles: coccygeus, illioccygeus, and the puboccygeus. Together these muscles are know at your Levator Ani muscle. They form part of your pelvic floor creating a diamond shape between the bones of the pubis in front, the two ischium (sitting bones) on the sides and the coccyx in the back.
When these muscles are activated, internal organs are supported and protected. Also, the connection between the front body and back body are restored which can often reduce lower back pain and alleviate excess tension.
How to Engage the Bandhas
When practicing the Bandhas, it is key to not clench but subtly lift these areas of the body. When we subtly lift these muscles, we tone them without creating excess tension. It is also important to fully release muscle activation between engagement.
I like to talk about Mula Bandha as it relate to Ashwini Mudra and Vajroli Mudra. Using these practices in conjunction with one another help clients develop greater awareness to subtle sensations of the pelvic floor.
1. Ashwini Mudra: contraction of the glutes, anus, and rectum as if you are stopping your poop.
2. Vajroli Mudra: contraction of the urethra as if you are stopping a stream of pee.
3. Mula Bandha a gentle lift of your perineum (the space between your genitals and anus).
How Pelvic Health Restores Energy
These practices have the ability to restore both physical and energetic health. They both energize and stabilize the three lower chakras of the body. These chakras are known as:
1. Muladhara (root chakra): relates to our survival, safety and ability to trust
2. Svahisthana (sacral chakra): relates to our sexuality, pleasure, and creativity
3. Manipura (solar plexus chakra): relates to our sense of self worth, power, and will
To understand the balancing effect of these practice, it is essential to cultivate a practice. Please message me for further information and/or 1:1 support.
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