How often should you practise pelvic floor exercises?
Although we might go (or have the intention of going) to the gym twice a week, practise yoga every morning or going for daily runs we never scheduled in time to exercise our pelvic floor. It is rarely part of any exercise regime. Except some practises which asks you to engage, or tighten, and hold the pelvic floor, or in yoga: your mulabandha, without any explanation of what exactly you need to do. Or indeed how and when to relax those specific muscles again.
Let’s find our pelvic floor first
My suggestion is to reconnect with your pelvic bowl and pelvic floor first. And you can do this anywhere and at anytime. As you are reading this observe if you can feel your pelvic floor: the anus, perineum (the space between the anus and genitals), vaginal canal (if you are a woman), the area around your urinary tract. Do you sense these parts of your body?
- Now start to connect. Squeeze the anal sphincter muscle. As if you have to pass wind but you hold it in. Can you isolate the anal muscles from the rest of your pelvis and buttocks?
- Let that go, relax and discover another area… The muscles at the front: Imagine having to pee and you need to hold. Release it completely.
- Let’s experience the perineum. The space between the anus and genitals. Sense this space and imagine lifting it slightly into your body.
- Women can also engage the muscles of the vagina. As if the walls of the vagina moves towards each other and then up towards the cervix.
- Now try to engage the whole hammock of muscles. Imagining them tighten slightly and lifting gently into your body. Can you hold it and still breathe and relax your face? And can you relax the area completely?
Stamina and quick response of the pelvic floor
That was the first step. You are now aware of your pelvic floor. You can engage and relax. Just spending a few minutes a couple of times a day reconnecting to this important part of your anatomy is helpful and strengthening.
It is often recommended to practise holding the muscles for a few moments e.g. count to 10 whilst engaging them and still breathe natural easy breaths. As well as short quick squeezes and releases. Then your muscles can do both. The stamina of holding. And the quick response – which comes in handy when you sneeze/cough/laugh and the pelvic floor needs to be supporting you.
Strengthen not tighten the pelvic floor
Our pelvic floor muscles are like all other muscles. Tight muscles (such as having tightness in the shoulders and neck) are uncomfortable, potentially painful, have decreased blood supply and just not optimal. Tight pelvic floor can even lead pelvic pain, incontinence, discomfort when having intercourse and even digestive and elimination issues.
It’s all about balance.
Have a look at my videos below to learn a bit more and check out sacredpelvis.com for more details on how you can reconnect with your sacred pelvis, release excess tension and strengthen the pelvic floor.