MAINSTREAM exercise has never been an option for me. I
enjoyed a 10-year career as a professional classical ballet dancer.
As I approached my 30s, my injured body needed to heal
through more mindful exercise.
As I entered into my 40’s, teaching exercise and spinal
strengthening had regained and sustained my overall physique
but my own state of mind and quality of life was truly dictated
by my own inner pelvic health.
Naturally becoming a close confidant of my clients, I began to
hear various stories of dissatisfaction with pelvic functioning.
To my surprise, stories filled with pain and dysfunction did not
come solely from older women with children. I was hearing all
types of unimaginable abnormalities silently being accepted as
normal – from women of all ages.
There was one common complaint from the very beginning of
my career as a trainer: “Kegels are not helping my pelvic floor!”
Inspired to help, as I could not imagine coping with the
suffering I was hearing, I returned to school to find some
answers. At the University of Washington, I learned that not
only are women doing way too much of the wrong things, the
majority are doing nothing at all!
Teaching my common sense techniques at a prenatal yoga
studio proved early on to be in line with what is necessary for
all women—mindful check-ins throughout the day to relax
unknown tension and learning how to “Un-Kegel.” This is the
heart of my technique.
COMMON PELVIC FLOOR DYSFUNCTIONS
It is with blind faith that we take our pelvic functioning for
granted—until that day when something unexpectedly goes
Mechanical malfunctions of the bladder include not making
it to the toilet because of little or no notice, not emptying
completely, or sometimes, nothing coming at all, even when
internal feedback says otherwise. Not facing these issues can
lead to having no control whatsoever, chronic pain and/or
Statistically speaking, the silent epidemics are bladder,
intestinal, vaginal, and rectal prolapse. With or without over-
training one’s pelvic floor, prolapse (a shifting or downward
displacement of our pelvic organs) can happen after childbirth
or in years following. Prolapse can be hereditary, and it is
potentially something your grandmother or mother never talked
about. This feeling of downward pressure can also occur at any
time after a full or partial hysterectomy, when there is no longer
enough internal pressures to support the organs.
WAYS TO STAY HEALTHY
The pelvic floor is autonomous. Do not micromanage it! With adequate
circulation and ventilation, your vagina is a self-healing mechanism. Purchase
jeans that fit well and don’t cut off circulation to the most sensitive and well-
loved areas of your body.
In addition, your inner pelvis is a self-cleaning oven with its own complex
internal environment. No douching, please! A small amount of apple cider in
a sitz bath will balance your pH naturally. Also, avoid pads that are scented
and tampons containing pesticides. Only organic products deserve to be
neighboring your sensitive tissues.
Avoid “power peeing,” or pushing anything down and out when it’s not
necessary. (Sorry, moms! The kids will be fine for another few seconds). On the
other hand, do not force yourself to go when there is no need. And, if you have
to go and must wait, there are postural tools that can take the pressure off your
bladder. Try lifting your shoulders and your rib cage upwards on the way to the
bathroom! Your bladder may need just a little bit less pressure from up above.
And the big one: Alfred Kegel worked with patients primarily using a
perineometer—a small balloon used to measure vaginal strength, still used in
physical therapy today. ‘Kegeling’ around nothing (I’ve heard when sitting at a
stoplight or standing in line at the supermarket) simply results in a tight, tired,
and weakened pelvic floor. Consider the dissatisfaction of chewing
with nothing in your mouth. Is it not logical that the pelvic floor
muscles should ideally be trained while maintaining the shape they
were meant to be used for during conception?
Sexual dysfunction or lack of sexual activity altogether is often easier
(but not impossible) to ignore. Through increased circulation, our
pelvic floors are self-healing mechanisms. Some private independent
homework can help maintain inner and outer tissue health through
regular activity. This will sustain and thicken vaginal walls, which, in
turn, can lower your risk of incontinence and prolapse.
Tragically, the muscles of the pelvis in both women and men can
unknowingly hold onto early dysfunction, driven by physical and/or
Throughout early and middle adulthood, the pelvic area will adapt
to chronic tension. Functioning can be misconstrued as reliable
enough. Lost conceptions and traumas of childbirth can be forgotten
in the joys of motherhood, masking early warnings of inflammation
and chronic pain that reveal themselves later in life.
Within these unconscious compensatory skills, false certainty will
convince any woman that the pelvis will always perform as
it’s meant to—not the case in an unrepresented growing population.
A BODY REMEMBERS AND CAN RELEARN
Consider the reasons for the accumulation of tension and pain may
have been long accepted and emotionally resolved but the pelvic floor
muscles can retain long-term physical memories that will eventually
release with adequate attention to relaxation and circulation. Relaxed
lower abdominals, attention to properly balanced sitting, and correct
posture are what maintain pelvic floor decompression. Pelvic floor
muscles can then learn to strengthen naturally by simply breathing
Practicing some self-empowering homework, as its own valuable
exercise, and/or utilizing a pelvic floor physical therapist can help
facilitate discovery of the true state of our beloved pelvic floors.
Each individual pelvic floor is unique and unpredictable. Past
traumas or not, any unwelcome change to your pelvic functioning
warrants immediate attention with an educated and proactive
approach. Stay in tune with your pelvic floor because dysfunction has
no place in one of the most precious areas of the body.
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