So...why care about the pelvic floor? I mean who ever really even considers their pelvic floor? Maybe when pregnant, or when you get an SI joint dianosis, or when you get the whim to do some Kegels. The pelvic floor is what holds your insides in AND well, your body fluids, too. That sure makes me care about mine. Plus, finding your pelvic floor engagement will help you have a deeper, fuller abdominal connection with TA (transversus abdomini - the spanx muscle - the flatbelly muscle).
Runners are WAY more likely to have prolapse and let's face it some incontinence issues. So female runners really should care about their pelvic floor. Plus running with core strength really assists in better breathing, posture and keeping a safe lower back.
My favorite pelvic floor spa day is power yoga! When you are holding those bandhas in purposefully, you are not only focusing your mind, but strengthening your core! When I started yoga, I deprived myself the goodness of p floor connection - I simply ignored those cues to pull my pfloor in. Please learn from my mistake and add your pelvic floor into your yoga and your running.
How do you find the pelvic floor? Nobody wants to admit that the kegel is elusive and how do you know if you are doing it correctly? I often see people bear down when I cue the pelvic floor which is no bueno!
Before we start...do me a favor. Pull your low belly in. Notice what you feel. On a scale of 1 to 5 note how strong it feels. Okay, here we go...pelvic floor school.
You have probably heard the cue to stop the flow of pee midstream. That really helps! But here are a few other ways if that one doesn't resonate with you. This list is by no means comprehensive, so comment if you aren't feeling any of these.
1. In seated or prone observe your sit bones as they rest. Relax. Breathe, feel your sit bones. Try to draw them together. Feel that little zip "down there"?
2. Suck your thumb. No really. Try it - it's the suckling response from infancy that connects your guts fully! How cool is that?
3. On all fours/quadruped try to neutral your pelvis. Tuck and arch a few times until you feel as though your pelvis is flat. Notice your tailbone. Now without moving your pelvis or hips (or ribs!!) zip your tailbone toward your pubic bone. Remember, nothing moves except a "down there" contraction.
4. Now pull your pelvic floor in and THEN pull your lower belly. Now give it a 1 - 5 rating. See? It's no joke!
My yoga grandmother (my yoga teacher's teacher) says feeling mula bandha (the pelvic floor) engage is like a butterfly landing on a flower. Yep that means if you squish your shoulders or your face or make any tense big movement, you haven't got your pelvic floor engaged properly. It should feel like a nice, kindly lil muscle pull. As you deepen your pelvic floor experience it will feel stronger, but still, never like you are bearing down or working hard. (Tip: look at your low belly when you pull your pelvic floor - if it poufs out, you are bearing down, not drawing up and inside you)
I leave you with this to ponder - just in case you still aren't sure you care about the Pfloor... I caught an episode of Oprah with the sexpert where she said not only should you be able to pull your P floor up but also back and from right to left. Ooooh, spiraling pelvic floor movement. That's freaking cool. So is not leaking when you run, not having lower back pain, not sneezin and peein, and being able to fully connect with your core.