There is that weird word again. Pandiculating the Pelvic Floor – What Now?
This week you will learn how to pandiculate your pelvic floor muscles, retraining them to relax fully and release in relationship to your breath.
Before we move on, let’s recap a few important points from the last two weeks:
The health of your pelvic floor is directly related to how much tension and holding there is in your soma and the muscles that are connected to and associated with the belly, back, inner and outer thighs and respiratory diaphragm.
Pelvic floor disorders are not a part of healthy aging. They instead reflect habituated patterns of movement, tension or trauma and can be reversed.
We should get to know our pelvic floors as well as we know our shoulders, hands, feet and abdomen. The more attention we pay to our muscles and sensations of movement, the easier it will be to “be in control of them.”
Sensory Motor Amnesia
As we mentioned in previous posts, Sensory Motor Amnesia is the term used to explain what happens when we lose the ability to voluntarily control the contraction and release of our muscles. Believe it or not, this happens in our pelvic floor as well.
A super interesting tidbit to add, is that there is physiological connection between a tight jaw and a tight pelvic floor. When we spend time bringing back our brain’s control over the pelvic floor, most times, the jaw muscles release. There is a great article by Dr. Christine Matheson, titled, “Why your pelvis needs you to relax your jaw” which speaks to the intimate relationship between the jaw and pelvic floor.
For example, if you are a jaw clencher, chances are your pelvic floor is tight too!
Pandiculation – The skill for reconnection and regaining control
The technique for regaining functional control and release over your pelvic floor muscles is called pandiculation.
Pandiculation is really simple and has 3 steps:
Conscious contraction of a muscle
Conscious, slow lengthening of the muscle and
Done regularly pandiculation efficiently and effectively re-establishes good communication between your brain and muscular system to reduce or resolve tension and pain.
As SomaYoga Therapists we use this technique with clients to re-establish a healthy, functional pelvic floor.
Let’s get practicing…
PRACTICE EXERCISE: Pandiculating the Pelvic Floor – What Now?
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet hip distance apart on the ground, or sit comfortably in a chair, feet well connected to the ground.
Take some time to find your breath and get centered.
On an exhale gently contract the middle part of your pelvic floor, so that you have some sensory motor awareness of this action, then as you inhale release the pelvic floor. Continue releasing for 2-3 more breaths in and out. Imagine your vagina as a flower and try to open the petals, as you relax and release.If you are a male, imagine a descension of the “Crown Jewels” with each subsequent exhale.
As you explore this practice, maintain an easy breath. Breath holding will only create further tension in your pelvic floor.
Spend about 10 minutes here bringing your brain’s attention to, sensing and feeling, the contraction and progreesive release of your pelvic floor muscles.Fully relax between movements.Check in…How much more can you let go?
To be fully functional it is important to link your awareness of your pelvic floor back to full body movement.
The somatic Flower Movement is a really amazing exercise that you can find on our YouTube channel. It embodies the idea, like the morning glory flower of drawing into contraction into midline and then lengthening and releasing out of midline to pandiculate the full chain of flexor muscles.
Try this practice for a week and see what you notice.
Some of the amazing things that clients report are:
Less pain in your body.
You feel more relaxed and less tension.
Less grinding of your teeth.
Awareness of feeling more stable or improved core strength.
Easier to walk and more freedom in your hips.
And really, who doesn’t want that?
Become a member so you can get access to our Pelvic Floor Health Series on our Video on Demand Channel.