Updated: Oct 14, 2020
Grab a cup of tea (or coffee), role out your mat, and have a seat for this pelvic floor practice.
Did you know your pelvic floor is not just one big muscle? The pelvic floor, also known as the pelvic diaphragm, is made up of layers of muscles and connective tissues (fascia). These muscles are the only muscles in the body that connect directly to bone and do not cross over joints. We'll leave the technical anatomy to our physiotherapist for now and just get to the basics of what this means for your yoga and fitness. The muscles and connective tissues of the pelvic floor attach at the front to the pubic bone and at the back to the tail bone and base of the spine. They also connect laterally to parts of the pelvic bones (around the sit bones). Basically covering the bottom of the pelvic bowl in three layers. Like a trampoline these muscles can stretch and bounce back, engage and release. Did you also know you can isolate different parts of the engagement in these muscles from front to back?
This is where our yoga mudras come in to our pelvic floor health and exercises. A mudra is a "gesture" or "seal". In our yoga practice we use mudras to facilitate the flow of energy.
Here are three mudras for your journey to pelvic floor love.
- Ashivini Mudra
- Sahajoli Mudra (women) Vahajoli Mudra (men)
- Mula Bandha
The mudra is located at the back of the pelvic floor around the rectum and anal sphincter. It involves the tightening and releasing of these muscles. This allows for the upward flow of energy (prana) through the spine.
Benefits of Ashivini Mudra:
- Tones pelvic floor muscles.
- Stimulates digestion.
- Eases constipation.
- Provides control over intestinal flow.
- Calms the mind.
- Awakens Kundalini energy.
These are just some of the many benefits of using this mudra and activating energy in the body.
1. Sit comfortable. Cross legged, bound angle (feet together), or with the legs out.
2. Lean back on the hands bringing your tail bone into contact with the floor.
3. Allow for the sit bones to be wide so the pelvis can open.
4. Inhale down towards the sit bones and the tail bone. Lengthening the back of the pelvic floor muscles.
5. Exhale are draw in, lifting the rectum away from the floor, engaging the glute muscles (imagine trying not to pass wind).
6. Inhale again and release.
7. Repeat this several times with the breath. Emphasis both sides of the breath. Inhaling fulling and then exhaling all the way out as you lift and engage.
Sahajoli Mudra (women)
Vahajoli Mudra (men)
Sahajoli Mudra is located around the front of the pelvic floor (genital region). This mudra activates the svadhisthana (sacral) chakra, redirecting the sacred feminine and sexual energy.
Benefits of Sahajoli Mudra:
- Tones and regulates the uro-genital area.
- Therapeutic for incontinence and urinary tract infections.
- Provides control over menstrual flow.
- Helps regulate ovulation.
- Therapeutic for sexual disfunction.
1. Sit comfortably with the sit bones slightly behind you.
2. Lean forward into the hands. (you do not need to come into a deep forward fold here)
3. Tilt the pelvis forward to bring the pubic bone (front of the pelvis) to the floor.
4. Inhale lengthen towards the front of the pelvic floor.
5. Exhale imagine lifting the bladder away from the floor (like you are trying not to pee).
6. Inhale release.
7. Repeat several times with the breath. Complete inhales and exhales.
Mula Bandha also known as the 'root lock' is located in the centre of the pelvic floor between the anus and genitals in the perineum. In women it is activated by drawing up the back of the vaginal wall to the cervix. This lock activates muladhara, our root chakra, drawing energy into the base of the spine where our basic needs for survival and safety reside. This activation can help us harness courage and ease feelings of fear or uncertainty.
- Strengthens the pelvic floor.
- Helps relieve hemorrhoids and congestion of the pelvic floor.
- Calms and relaxes the autonomic nervous system.
- Helps control and adjust to inter-abdominal pressure during breath work and physical activity.
1. Sit upright with the sit bones directly beneath you. A neutral pelvis and tall spine.
2. Imagine rooting the base of the spine and sit bones and you lengthen to the crown of the head.
3. As you inhale imagine the pubic bone and tail bone widening away from each other. Lengthening the centre of the pelvic floor towards the floor.
4. Exhale and draw the perineum up away from the floor. Draw up the vaginal wall towards the cervix.
5. Inhale release.
6. Exhale draw in and hold as you continue to breathe for up to 10 seconds.
7. Inhale release.
Further your Practice:
Once you become familiar with the feeling of activating and release these three mudras try working through all three in one breath.