Masterclass in Pelvic Floor Exercises
We’ve already written about the importance of relaxed breathing when you exercise your pelvic floor muscle. We’ve also shown you how useful meditation and relaxation can be in helping you to prepare your body for a pelvic floor workout. Here we take things a step further and teach you how to really tune into your pelvic floor. This helps to make your pelvic floor exercises much more effective.
Pelvic floor Awareness Exercise.
Begin lying on your side or on your back with your knees bent up.
Spend some time practising your breathing awareness exercises and around 10 minutes practising one or more of your favourite relaxation or meditation methods.
Focus on your pelvic floor and back passage. Try to make sure it isn’t clenched tight before you begin. Note how your pelvic floor changes as you begin to breathe in a more relaxed way.
Now, as you breathe in, imagine you are blowing up a balloon inside your tummy. The bottom of the balloon is your pelvic floor and the top of your balloon is just below your bra line.
As you breathe in, imagine the balloon inflating. Your bra line is gently pushed up and your pelvic floor moves down.
Your tummy should feel soft as you do this but it should gently rise as you breathe in and fall as you breathe out.
You may experience new and different sensations in your pelvic floor and tummy as you do this. You might also find that you have to really concentrate to keep that picture of a balloon in your mind. This is all normal.
Once you can do this, focus on what your tummy feels like. Ask yourself, “Is there any tension there or does it feel uncomfortable?”
Try to let your tummy go and avoid holding it in or trying to make it flat.
Now just focus on your pelvic floor. Be aware of the sensations in and around your vulva, back passage and vagina. Keep your breathing relaxed and slow.
Picture the lips of your vulva. Picture the inner lips, then the outer lips. Imagine them as soft, open leaves.
Now focus on your vagina. Picture it as soft and relaxed. Make sure your buttocks are completely relaxed and not clenched or lifting your body off the surface you are lying on.
Now you are ready to add in your Pelvic Floor Exercises:
Now build an image of your pelvic floor muscles in your mind. Think of a soft tube surrounded by muscles.
Most of those muscles are at the back of the vagina and as they tighten, they lift your vagina and back passage forwards and upwards against your pubic bone (at the front). Try to picture this as you do the following exercise.
Keeping your breathing relaxed, on your next breath out, slowly lift your pelvic floor from the back up and forwards. You should feel a lift and a tighten. Hold this gentle contraction for a count to 5 whilst you breathe normally and then let it slowly relax down for a count of 15. Keep your breathing relaxed throughout.
Make sure that your pelvic floor, tummy and the rest of your body are relaxed and that you have a relaxed breathing pattern before attempting the next pelvic floor exercise.
Repeat this 5 to 10 times but don’t rush this exercise and leave at least 15 seconds in between each contraction to ensure full relaxation of your muscles.
By Alison Bourne MA (Cantab) BSc MCSP ACPWH