Yoga Tip: Exploring and strengthening your root (pelvic floor)

Get a lock so you don’t leak.
If you frequent Just B Yoga Studio around 6 p.m. on any given Tuesday, then you have heard and probably exercised your pelvic floor as it’s a hot topic of conversation in our Open Heart Yoga class. Here is why…Pelvic-floor-diagram-01-01-281x300
Many people, both men and women, have some form of incontinence. Urinary incontinence is urinary leakage where one may experience a sudden urge to urinate or feel a few drops of urine leave the body due to coughing or laughing. With the many reasons for, and types of, urinary incontinence it may be difficult to identify why someone is experiencing leakage. We do know that incontinence can cause great emotional distress to those with it.
The pelvic floor, also referred to as Mula Bandha or root lock at the base of the spinal column, is made up of both bones and muscle. Think of your pelvic floor as being comprised of three areas: very base of the spine, the urethra (where urine flows), and the genitals.

You may hear your yoga instructor refer to the pelvic floor when they ask to contract or lift the perineum, which is the part of the body directly between the anus and genitals. Since the root lock is comprised of muscles, the more you practice the stronger the pelvic floor becomes. A stronger pelvic floor means less incontinence and also stronger core muscle, which means healthier backs.
3 Pelvic Floor Exercises:

1) Begin practicing while lying on your back. If you are standing or sitting, gravity may play a role in your ability to engage all three areas.
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Begin inhaling and exhaling, creating a smooth long breath before engaging the muscles of your root (maybe think of squeezing your sphincter). With every inhale, engage the root. With every exhale, release to root. Do this exercise for 5-10 breaths.
2) Inhale and engage the root, holding the root into the lower belly. Continue to inhale and exhale, while maintain an active root engagement. Take 3-5 breaths before releasing the pelvic floor.
3) While inhale and exhaling engage the root as though you are sucking air through a straw. Take your time to engage the root for the entire length of the breath. Then release the breath and root slowly.

These exercises have no boundaries. As you become more familiar with your pelvis, try practicing while sitting, showering, or before falling to sleep. It’s important to note that one does not need to experience incontinence to experience the root of your body. To expand one’s knowledge of the root of the body is to explore a precious part of the self, which is waiting to be nurtured and loved.

 

Lacey Ingrao teaches Open Heart Yoga at Just B Yoga Tuesdays at 3 p.m. Read her bio HERE.

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