Just as any other muscle can fall into a pattern of not functioning well as a result of Sensory Motor Amnesia, the pelvic floor is affected by trauma (such as labour and delivery), sports and habituated contraction of the belly muscles. Surprisingly, too much core work, tailbone tucking, reverse and restricted breathing patterns and a lifestyle with too much stress can all contribute to pelvic floor problems.
Pelvic Floor problems: a Symptom of a bigger pattern
As Somatic Educators and Yoga Therapists we approach the pelvic floor as part of 3 larger Reflex Patterns known as the Red Light Reflex, Green Light Reflex and Trauma Reflex.
Red Light Reflex relates to the muscles at the front of the body. The pelvic floor is strongly related to the flexor chain of muscles which draw towards midline, moving the limbs inward and flexing the body forward. The Startle Reflex action resembles the action of a morning glory flower, a common flower species that closes at night and reopens each morning, hence its name. The act of the petals closing is to protect it against nocturnal insects and it helps retain moisture. When the sun rises, the flower petals open to display its beauty once again.
Green Light Reflex involves the muscles that run along the spine, the external rotators and bum muscles, such as the glutes, and the muscles on the back of the legs (hamstrings). These muscles can get stuck tight and inhibit the good function of our Red Light or front body muscles, affecting the pelvic floor and mobility of the pelvis.
Trauma Reflex affects the side waist and trunk muscles such as the external and internal intercostals, lateral obliques, glute muscles and can pull and tug causing imbalance of the pelvis and pelvic floor.
Pelvic floor dysfunction is NOT a normal course of aging. Rather, your pelvic floor problems could be a symptom of a bigger pattern.
As we experience stress, tension, develop poor movement patterns and ways of being we notice changes in our pelvic floor function.
Incontinence, for example can arise from either a hypertonic (overly tight pelvic floor) and strongly contracted abdominal muscles or a hypotonic (loose pelvic floor). In both situations, Sensory Motor Amnesia could be creating the bigger pattern that leads to the symptom of Incontinence.
Three things you should know about pelvic floor dysfunction:
Pelvic Floor dysfunction is not a normal course of aging.
Pelvic Floor dysfunction occurs in both men and women.
One does not have to have given birth to have pelvic floor issues.
SomaYoga & Somatics are great for regaining elasticity and control over the pelvic floor.
Keep learning with us! You can get started with the Arch and Flatten movement available for free on our YouTube Channel or become a member of our Video on Demand Service. Remember to consider your pelvic floor as part of a bigger pattern.
Stay tuned for next week’s post to help you attune and get real with your pelvic floor.