If you ask your mother if she could jump on the trampoline without using the bathroom first, chances are she will say, “no”.
There are generations of women who think just because they’ve carried and birthed a baby, that their body will forever be broken. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With proper information and practice, you can gain strength through your pelvic floor during and after pregnancy, and once again be free to sneeze without needing to cross your legs…I’m talking about incontinence here!
Besides incontinence, your pelvic floor muscles are also responsible for other factors, such as sexual pleasure…um, important, right? Strengthening these muscles can also help to relieve constipation, restore/prevent prolapse, reduce low back pain, hold in tampons/menstrual cups and decrease frequent urination. Holy smokes!
As a woman’s belly becomes more bountiful during pregnancy, pressure gets put on the pelvic floor, which can weaken the area. During this time, you want to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles through specific connection exercises (see below) and avoid any pose or movement that could put added pressure on the floor. Postpartum, it’s important to continue with these specific exercises to maintain strength and connection. So, how do you tighten your taco…big wink*!?
Below is a description of the Connection Breath Exercise, but make sure to read these 5 tips first:
- ALIGNMENT. Samantha Jones in Sex and the City does a lot of things well, but I don’t think she gets her strong pelvic floor muscles by engaging her bits while sipping cosmos at the bar! Her posture is all out of whack! Alignment is key as you prepare for these exercises, ensure you’re sitting up tall before you begin (ears stacked over shoulders and shoulders over hips).
- BREATH. Forget everything you know about breathing. But don’t stop breathing…dear god, what I mean is breathe sideways. As you prepare for the Connection Breath, take a few breaths and focus on your inhale. Imagine your belly is a balloon and swell through the front, back AND side bodies, opening up the rib cage and pushing your breath deep down to your belly.
- RELEASE. Don’t just Kegel to contract! Actually what’s just as important is the release! Women can hold a lot of tension in their bits so simply focussing on the contraction, or lift of your pelvic floor, can often do more harm than good. Inhale to release mama!
- VISUALIZATION. Sip a milkshake through your vagina..one of those thick creamy milkshakes that you have to get going by sucking vigorously on the straw half a dozen times before it wells up. Exhale to lift your pelvic floor, as if you’re stopping the flow of urination.
- CONNECT. This exercise is a practice of connecting you with your pelvic floor, the muscles that sit at the base of our pelvis, and the transverse abdominus muscles, located deep below the navel. So, at the end of your exhale, draw your lower belly in 10%. THAT’S how you connect the pelvic floor (aka: mula bandha) and transverse abdominus (aka: uddiyana bandha). Be aware…don’t do more than a 10% engagement because then you’ll be contracting your rectus abdominus (aka: six pack).
Here we go…
Sit up tall and bring your hands to rest under your belly.
Gently close your eyes and start to take your focus inward, tuning into your breath.
Inhale, slowly breath in and feel the expansion through your front, back and side bodies.
Exhale long, feeling the belly and the ribs gently draw in.
On your next inhale, focus on releasing the muscles of the pelvic floor, those that prevent the flow of urination and passing gas.
Then on your exhale, start to lift these muscles up, imagine picking blueberries up with your vagina.
Inhale again, breathing sideways into your ribs and soften and release your pelvic floor.
Exhale, contract your pelvic floor, this time, imagining you’re sipping a milkshake up through your vagina.
Inhale, and again, fill yourself up like your filling up a water balloon, releasing between your bits.
Exhale, lift up, and at the end of this exhale, pause…and connect with your lower tummy muscles (transverse abdominus) giving baby a very gentle hug from below the navel.
Repeat this for three more cycle on your own, pausing in between cycles to steady your breathing if necessary.
After your solo cycles, gently open your eyes and steady your breath.
Lots of sweet love,