As you know, unused muscle loses tone and strength. The mind is powerful, however thinking about doing pelvic floor exercises, and nodding ‘I know, I know’ will not a strong pelvic core make. Consistent, daily practice, “with no gaps” as Friday the Tibetan girl says in “How Yoga Works” will make for a rewarding practice. The mind will find many reasons why “Today I cannot.” This is the deep practice, not believing or indulging those stories, but making choices, not floating along as though we have no choice. Challenging I know. Rich and rewarding beyond words, as the mind training affects how we see ourselves and the world. That is yoga.
The best book I know on pelvic floor AND exercises is by Blandine Calais-Germain, author of Anatomy of Movement. The book, “The Female Pelvis, Anatomy and Exercises,” goes deeply into details for women, but basic muscular anatomy of pelvis is similar enough that the exercises are good for men as well. See below for books for both men and women. I have kept wanting to bring images of the three layers of the pelvic floor to class, but I loaned this book some time ago, it never came back. So here it is. It will greatly help you in regular practice.
The most important thing is guidance from a teacher over time, and continued instruction as you make the practice yours, to refine and correct mistakes, which are part of learning. You must practice for the teacher to be able to offer more. Read “How Yoga Works” an earlier blog post. Many of you have been working with me for a long time, and have taken Leslie Howard’s classes, or worked with Suzanne Kemmerer. Thus the books are a great supplement to what you have learned to help you at home. If you are new to the practice, do not rely on the books alone. Look for their workshops, Leslie does not live in SF, but teaches at Piedmont Yoga and Yoga Tree, Yoga Loft for regular workshops. Doing these at least once is a must.
For Leslie Howard’s workshop schedule see: LeslieHowardYoga.com
More Books and Tips:
TIPS for Practice:
1. Be sure to keep breath freely moving, each moving coming from a freely moving exhale. Binding the breath will choke key energetic and anatomical centers. (See “How Yoga Works.”)
2. Be happy, inspired and grateful that you are doing the practice. State of mind is important. If you feel pressured, prideful, competitive, vain, insecure this too will choke the breath and cause harm internally.
3. Practice consistently, not too intensely. Change is gradual and best when consistent, rather than occasional bursts of over-exercising.
4. Work it into something you already do: an evening walk, horseback riding, your run, your seated meditation… if you have already a time of day where you set aside to unwind or exercise, add 5 or 10 minutes to that for the pelvic floor exercises… Don’t let it be “Oh where will I fit that in?!!”
5. Think about what is important to you and how you choose to spend time. If you are thinking “I don’t have the time!” Ask yourself about your wants and needs. What do you value more than health of mind, breath, organs overtime? Is that thing really worth foregoing self-awareness and self-care, or can you shift things? Write down your top ten wants and needs; needs being that without which you’d be dead or rather die (food, water, love…your subjective passions). Then note where you spend time.
Please share if you feel these exercises are felt in your body since you started, or what impact or benefit you have noticed, or any questions you have on the practice.
Stay in touch, share how it goes…