Last night, 30 women gathered at Blooma with Leslie Howard, Amy Metry and "Ruby" the pelvic floor model to explore the many facets of the female diamond. Soon we were laughing and learning. Here's some more about Leslie:
Leslie Howard Yoga in the News: Fit Yoga Magazine -December 2008
Curve Magazine - "5 Facts About Down There" January 2010
Vagina Pagina blog - April 2010
Yogic Muse Blog, June 2010
"A healthy pelvic floor is more than doing Kegels." Here are some gems from last night:
Its not that we shouldn't do kegels, its that doing kegels only addresses one of the three muscle groups of the pelvic floor. Kegels are meant to be done with something to kegel around...
Mula Bandha a yogi practice to engage the pelvic floor is a complex and somewhat advanced technique that is not appropriate for exercise yoga classes, but should be learned in serious training and as a separate and unique technique. (My paraphrase isn't as clear as Leslie's comments.)
Engaging the pelvic floor is good and stablizes the core.
The core includes the muscles from the respiratory diaphragm down to the pelvic floor, including the abs and psoas.
Working the abs and leaving the pelvic floor weak adds to incontinence, constipation and other problems of pelvic floor weakness and having the organs shoved down by tight abs without a stable floor.
Too loose or too tight causes their own set of problems. Some of the diamond can be too tight while another area can be too loose.
And an interesting ray of insight for me was about
how our floor relaxes and opens on the inhale and lifts on the exhale. Hmm.
Why do we push babies out on the exhale?
Oh, we exert on the exhale...
Umm, why are we exerting so much letting our babies out?
Oh, yea, we learned that to overcome the helpful pain drugs that weakened our bodies during birthing... we learned that to overcome the tension of having a doctor, a resident, a student and a nurse watching our yoni as they commanded us to "Push!"... we learned that because of the high fear atmosphere in the room which lends to a lot of clenching.
Ok, this is my ramble, not Leslie's comments.
So for years now when a woman is frustrated with pushing, confused about how to push, doesn't want to, and of course this is only if she has been told to push and it doesn't seem to be working for her for one of these reasons or for the reason that the head is not flexed,
I ask the women to stop pushing and release during the contractions (surges).
Just open around the baby and let the uterus do the work, keeping everything else loose.
Babies tend to flex, women tend to get back in tune with their bodies and labor tends to resume the progress towards birth.
Listening to Leslie I understand more of the physiology of why this seems successful so often.
More fun with the ruby diamond at Leslie Howard Yoga.