My friend Sarrah called me today and in the midst of our random as always conversation she blurts out, I want to pass this truck, but I can’t tell if that’s another truck coming or a port-a-potty out here in the desert. Seriously! I figured she desperately needed her eyes checked until she explained again about the heat and how it makes everything look all wavy. I thought that it made for a great title for what I’m going to talk about today and she assured me that there really are port-a-potties in the desert in New Mexico for all of the railroad workers; she was not hallucinating. Thank goodness!
I did a Google Search for “hero pose and strong pelvic floor muscles” the other day for work in order to gain some more clarity on why I was listing such terms as benefits of practicing this pose. I’ve linked the images search above because there were some pretty impressive pictures there that didn’t make any sense to me, thought you might want to browse them yourself. This was my favorite:
What that has to do with my search is beyond even me. This made me wish I were using wordpress so that I could see (like everyone else does) what terms bring people to this blog. Mostly I think people are just linking from my posts on other blogs, but it’d be interesting to see….
So, back to the pelvic floor. If you don’t know what it is or only have a vague understanding, here is your anatomy 101 for the day. The pelvic floor is basically a safety net of muscles that criscross and interweave themselves through your pelvis and hold all of your organs up inside of you. If you’ve ever heard of Kegels exercises, these are meant to strengthen you pelvic floor muscles. If you’ve ever heard of uterine or bladder prolapse, this is caused by weak pelvic floor muscles. And hey, who wants to be out for a run one day and have their uterus fall out?
|I’m really flabbergasted to find that a Google Image Search of “my uterus fell out while running” also yielded a picture of the Duggars!|
Most people who hear about training your pelvic floor muscles are interested in performing better sexually and have probably been taking lessons from Kama Sutra or Tantra, but it’s about so much more! In Eric Franklin’s book, Dynamic Alignment Through Imagery, he explains that the pelvic floor is the root of EVERYTHING in your body. It is where movement is generated from, it supports and massages your organs between it and your diaphragm, it is in someway connected to every other part of your body. It is your center. In the study of Chakras you learn that your first Chakra, Mulhadara, is associated with your perineal area and pelvic floor and is the grounding Chakra. Having a strong foundation is good for your health both physical and mental. In yoga we do several different poses to improve the pelvic floor foundation, including Hero pose which is the best place to practice Kegel exercises.
Interesting to note that this article also came up in my search and explains our problems with Kegeling the way it’s taught today: Do Restorative Yoga: Pelvic Floor – to Kegel or not to Kegel?
I loved reading the part, “Science Note: The muscle tissue in your PF is the same as the muscle tissue in your biceps. When you’re done realllly working your biceps, you’d like your arm to go back to its original length, right? What if, when you were done doing your curls, your elbows stayed as bent as they were when your muscles were the TIGHTEST? If you equate strong with tight, then you’d have “strong,” contracted arms with bent elbows all the time. Tight muscles. Unusable arms.” (Note that this blog post is in reference to a pair of blog posts from Mama Sweat (Mama Sweat: Pelvic Floor Party: Kegels are NOT invited; Mama Sweat: Pelvic Floor Encore)
I love watching the guys at the gym who have to walk around with their arms out to their sides and cannot turn their head because they’ve totally overworked their necks, traps, lats, biceps, etc and then have tiny little legs and back injuries.
This is why I LOVE yoga! It focuses on balance. Be strong, but flexible in your practice. Be strong, but flexible in your life.
So, where does this all bring me? I’ve been doing a lot of running lately (thank goodness!) and luckily I am able to make it through my runs without having to make pit stops, wear a Depend, or fear peeing on myself. I think this is in part to the fact that I did a lot of Pilates and yoga prior to and during my pregnancies and partly because I have a good knowledge base about how to correctly perform exercises of this nature. I encourage you to get to know your pelvic floor and be thankful for it. Treat it well by strengthening it (think about having a zipper that goes all the way from your tailbone to your navel and zip it up from time to time) as well as stretching the muscles in there (squat!). Be strong and flexible in your life and most importantly, know that there are port-a-potties out there in the desert in case you need them.