Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Prenatal Yoga: A Pelvic Floor Sequence for an Easier Labor + Delivery

Just an appropriate subject for me at the moment!!
Try this practice for strong and supple muscles to support childbirth, your vital organs, and even your love life.

Pregnancy, labor, and delivery are some of the biggest challenges a woman’s body faces in her lifetime, but a strong, supple pelvic floor can minimize many of the discomforts of pregnancy and make delivery easier. Most women know that pelvic floor strength is important, but many of us are unaware that these muscles (even yogis') are not only weak but tight. And it’s essential to address the tightness of the muscles before attempting to strengthen them.
Tight pelvic floor muscles are usually a symptom of a lack of deep breathing. When we don’t breathe fully, the pelvic floor doesn’t stretch. It stays in it's shortened, contracted state. Over time the muscles become more rigid, making it more difficult to lengthen without a concerted effort. And since the pelvic floor is the matrix that supports our vital organs, we want it to be as strong and long as possible. Not to mention, its strength and elasticity also plays a big role in a woman's ability to orgasm. It’s an important network of muscles!
Like most women, during my three pregnancies, I was told to “do my kegels” to strengthen my pelvic floor, that it was just using the muscles that “stop the flow of urine.” My religious practice of kegels never stopped the flow of urine, though, while I was pregnant—or after. As a matter of fact, I always needed to carry extra clothes with me in case I sneezed or laughed too hard. It wasn’t until after my third baby that I learned the actions a kegel was meant to do!
The combination of length and strength in the pelvic floor creates muscles with great integrity to support a baby in addition to all of the organs that rest on it. These strong muscles in conjunction with the gluteus medius are called upon during the second stage of labor (pushing) and are responsible for helping the bones of the pelvis come back together after delivery. Use the following poses to develop the strength and flexibility of these muscles and leave mama with a healthy and happy pelvis!
1. This full-breathing practice stretches the diaphragm and pelvic floor.
Focus your breath into the side ribs as you inhale fully. Visualize of gills on a fish expanding out to the sides. As you inhale, the diaphragm and the pelvic floor are stretching. As you exhale completely, feel the ribs come back to center and the pelvic floor subtly lift. Continue for 8–10 breaths.
 2. Lengthen: Supta Baddha Konasana

There is a close relationship between the hip adductors (inner thighs) and the pelvic floor muscles; tight adductors make the pelvic floor muscles far less elastic. Tight adductors also make hip abductors (e.g., gluteus medius) weak. So we can also affect the length of the pelvic floor muscles by stretching the inner thighs in well-supported postures.
Come into Supta Baddha Konasana with blocks beneath the outer thighs to support the opening of the inner thighs. Relax here for a few breaths.
Practicing a kegel properly is the best way to get the muscles of the pelvic floor to draw toward one another, stretching and lengthening them. Once the muscles are well connected, you recruit transverse abdominis to draw everything in and up, similar to mula bandha, but with a real connection of the pelvic floor.
Still in Supta Baddha Konasana, picture the pelvic floor muscles between your two sitting bones. Inhale, and as you exhale, draw the muscles together as if they were the two halves of an elevator door closing to meet in the middle. Once this door is closed, lift the elevator up and then release. Next, imagine the pelvic floor muscles between your pubic bone and tailbone. Inhale, and as you exhale, draw those muscles together in the same elevator-door fashion, lift the elevator, and then release. Now, draw all four elevator doors together at once, meeting at one point in the middle, then lift, hold for up to 8 breaths, and release. Repeat 5 times, and rest. Aim to repeat this Kegel practice 2 to 3 times a week.

3. Strengthen: Clam Shell Leg Lifts  and Side Lying Leg Lift

Lying on your side, bend your knees so your thighs are at a 45-degree angle to your torso. Keeping your heels together, inhale to open your knees as wide as possible without allowing your pelvis to roll back. Exhale to come back to center. Repeat for 30 breaths. 

4. Strengthen: Side-Lying Rotation Lift


Also follow me at

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Ayurvevedic for kids

Good review of the doshas, and the implications for the kids lifestyles, activities including yoga!