Turn Your Pelvic Floor into Pelvic Phwoar!
We are often told to exercise our pelvic floor, to use kegel balls, but the truth is, many of us don’t know what that means, or how to do it effectively. We can hold a lot of tension in our vagina and pelvic cavity which can actually be counter-productive to a good healthy and orgasmic pelvic floor.
Keeping our vaginas clenched can lead to further problems, if you’re already tensed up, then sneeze, that is a lot of pressure to apply to an already stressed area, leading to an explosion of tension and likelihood of a little burst of urinary incontinence.
So we’d all love to feel sexy all the time but our pelvic floor strength can be part of what leads us to feel decidedly unsexy. Urinary incontinence, prolapsed pelvic organs through childbirth or other exertions can leave us feeling a little self-conscious.
Kegel exercises are the clenching and releasing of the muscles in the pelvic floor – often enhanced by using kegel balls placed inside the vagina. Watch this fantastic video from Hannah Witton about using them for a week. This will strengthen the muscles within the pelvis and is really important for keeping your pelvic floor in tip top condition.
Improving the muscle strength surrounding the vagina is a fantastic start, but there’s a deeper way to help pull everything up and into place, opening up blood flow to the entire pelvic and abdominal region.
One practice forging ahead is that of hypopressives and the Ruby Glow team went along to an introductory workshop with Scotland's leading practitioner, Abby Lord, to find out how engaging your diaphragm can really aid your pelvic floor.
The practice is all about using your breath (or absence of breath) to pull up your diaphragm into your rib cage, opening and pulling the lower abdominal organs up into place.
Abby explains further:
“So the Hypopressive breath and rib opening engages and activate the vagus nerve and the cauda equina. These are the nerves that come down the posterior aspect of the spine and innervate the perineum.
The difference with kegels is that kegel type exercise only works the very bottom sling of muscles. Many women are actually holding tight already because they have had an experience of stress or urge incontinence or prolapse. They unconsciously hold their pelvic floor in a state of tension without actually knowing they are doing it. This can mean even when they do a kegel properly - squeeze, lift, release - they are only lowering to their usual tight position and never fully letting go. This may work for a bit for leaks but eventually the muscle just gets tired and can’t hold tight anymore and then the situation gets worse.
For sexual pleasure you need to be able to let go of the muscle in order to tighten and grip during orgasm if you can’t let go you won’t reach a proper great climax. Hypopressives encourage deep breaths which activate your Psoas (the emotion muscle) and the cauda equina and also your pelvic floor.
Relaxing in inhale and lifting and toning on the exhale. It’s cool because with the breathing alone you can be working and toning your pelvic floor all day long!”
Certainly at the class, it was a quite a strange thing to consciously relax the pelvic floor completely and unclench the vagina. It made me realise just how much tension I carry in the area.
The practice of hypopressives involves drawing in as if breathing while the lungs are empty and not inhaling – sounds weird and it feels weird, but it really draws everything up from your lower abdomen to your chest. I really felt my deep core working hard and it was fascinating to feel things in my body that I had never felt before.
I found my posture felt wonderful afterwards and I walked taller. After the class I did reengage my kegels, I’m not letting go of that after all these years, however, it did teach me to be more aware rather than just clench tight in my vagina.
It has me thinking deeper, to the root of what’s holding everything in place. It gave me a renewed, and invigorated relationship with my body.
And as for orgasms… well, I will need to practise more to truly find out but I definitely feel much more engaged.
If you would like to find out more (and I really recommend it) take a look at the Hypopressives website – there should be links to classes where you are but Abby also does online workshops. Read her story of how she turned her life around with hypopressives.
I am ready to take my pelvic floor into the realms of pelvic phwaor!
For more pelvic health articles - why not read our blog on Keeping Up with Self Love during a bout of Thrush.