Intermediate Group Class: Balancing and Strengthening the Pelvic Floor

Bow to the Ear Pose
This week we are addressing the core, but without working with the abdominal wall directly. Instead, we will deal with those structures that encase the abdominal wall, allowing it to be free to do what it needs to. Consider the following:

Soften and widen the lower rib area around and below the xyphoid process (the bottom tip of the sternum). This area wraps around the diaphragm and is the anchor to which the upper abdominal wall attaches. Release the wall of connective tissue under the latissimus dorsi and widen it from back to front. At the same time, release and widen the wall of connective tissue between the front lower ribs and the skin from front to back.

The pelvic floor can be thought of as having a fan-like shape, with the hinge of the fan at the tailbone and the spokes at the pubic bone and the sitting bones. Keep the fan as wide and as balanced as possible in the following poses. Whenever taking the leg out to the side, initiate the movement in the pelvic floor by opening up the pelvic fan.

Consider the following actions to keep the pelvic floor balanced:
  • People who are habitually tucked under in the pelvis tend to be gripped in the back of the pelvic floor. They will need to stretch back from the perineum (center of the pelvic floor) to the tailbone.
  • People who are habitually tilted forward in the pelvis tend to be slack or over-stretched in the front of the pelvic floor. They will need to firm and lift from behind the pubic bone.
  • Widen the hip creases (the fold at the top of the thigh) and the buttock creases (where the buttocks and the backs of the thighs meet) evenly. Tuckers might have to widen the buttock creases more, tilters the hip creases.
  • People with an imbalance in the hips for one reason or the other might have to widen the hip and buttock creases and open the pelvic fan on one side more than the other.
  • Keep the pelvic floor either horizontal or vertical, parallel or perpendicular to the backs of the legs, depending on the pose.

In addition to these balancing actions, we are going to find strength in the pelvic floor and lower abdomen by finding grounding through the legs:
  • Widen and lengthen the wall of connective tissue between gluteus maximus (the buttocks) and the hamstrings and the bones and deeper muscles underneath away from the head and towards the feet.
  • At the same time, widen and lift the pelvic floor just behind the pubic bone as you allow the lower abdomen to settle back to wards the sacrum. This is analogous to a Mula Bandha action, but it is quite different from squeezing the perineum and pulling in just below the navel.

The Sequence

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) on the ropes
• Have a bolster and blankets on which to rest the head.
• Clasp the elbows with the arms overhead and rest the forearms on the bolster.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Place a block between the feet and belt the calves at the thickest part.
• Press the calves out into the belt while anchoring the feet back into the block.
• Balance out the thighs by widening from behind the pubic bone across the hip creases and from in front of the tailbone across the buttock creases, where the buttock and hamstrings meet.

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2) with the descended foot at the wall
• Put a block under the raised leg.
• Start with the leg bent, only straightening it once you have it resting on the block.

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2) with the descended foot at the wall

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the heels against the wall

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
Eka Pada Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Single Leg Hand Stand)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshva Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshva Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Krounchasana (Heron Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) with the foot at the wall
• Lift the head towards the raised leg, bringing the back off the floor.

Malasana (Garland Pose)
• Have a wedge under the heels.
• Loop a belt around the body and knees to support the legs and allow the inner thighs and groins to soften.

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Akarna Dhanurasana (Bow to the Ear Pose)
• To make the pose more accessible, hold on to the foot that’s on the ground using a belt.

Parivrtta Janu Shirshasana (Revolved Head of the Knee Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share