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by Donna Brooks

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Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Emotional Resilience

Tightening and relaxing the pelvic floor is great exercise. BUT if that is all you are doing you are missing a lot. Most importantly, you are missing the connection between your pelvic floor dysfunction and emotional resilience.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Emotional Resilience

Just like our pelvic floor, humans have to be both flexible and strong. Yet, we are often overloaded, juggling responsibilities and trying to preserve our well being through gripping, pushing and then collapsing. Adding rote exercises on top of this distress can make us more anxious and pushed. Stress itself puts your body in a fight and flight activation that hurts your pelvic floor.

Briefly, try an experiment, think of a pressure you feel and see where you can sense your body tightening.  Even if you don’t feel tightening all the way down to your pelvic floor, please know your jaw, your shoulders, your central diaphragm and your spine can push, full, strain or tighten your pelvic floor just because you are operating with pressure and strain.

The way you approach pelvic floor exercises can build pelvic floor strength and emotional resilience together.

The pelvic floor needs a balance between strength and flexibility. When you create this thoughtfully and consciously you get a kind of elastic trampoline effect. The dynamism and elasticity of this trampoline is resilience. It supports your pelvic floor organs without tightening, gripping and causing pain.

Also, as you approach the creation and nurturing of this “trampoline” with the whole body and mind you will also find emotional resilience!

Women often tank emotionally when pelvic floor problems show up.

It’s not uncommon to feel terrible when  the problems of incontinence, pelvic floor pain, prolapse, weakness and related hip pain or sciatica show up.

Of course, pelvic floor issues are specific but starting to treat your pelvic floor well means taking care of all of you. It means finding a way out of feminine pressure into feminine resilience.

Breath is Key to emotional resilience and healing pelvic floor dysfunction.

Our breathing changes where the volume of fluids is above the pelvic floor. It also changes the movement of the pelvic floor itself. Held breath, chest breathing or even belly breathing can negatively influence both your pelvic floor health and your emotional resilience.

I am a big advocate of understanding and experiencing how the actual anatomy works. There has been a big shift from chest breathing into belly breathing and that has value but it’s not really how the diaphragm works. Good analogies for both the central diaphragm and the pelvic diaphragms are jellyfish. Our diaphragms are domes and the central diaphragm also has crura – an important part of connection to the pelvic diaphragm.

So, let’s look at how your central diaphragm really works and start to approach it’s connection to your pelvic floor.

Pelvic Floor dysfunction doesn’t have to make you feel bad.


How can you feel your diaphragms?

  1. Find your breast plate and trace it down to the Xiphoid process (the very bottom towards your belly)

  2. Wrap your hands around the sides of ribs at the level of the Xiphoid

  3.  Gently squeeze your ribs.

  4. Take a long inhalation and a long exhalation

  5. Can you feel the sides (and even the backs ) of your ribs move?

  6. It is the central diaphragm that creates this 360 movement of the ribs.

Right a way you can feel a true diaphragmatic breath – one that is 3 dimensional and not just  a ”belly breath”

7.  As you breath, notice if you can feel breath in your back, your hips or your tail. If so, you may be close to finding your pelvic floor breath. Your pelvic floor eccentrically contracts as you breath in and in doing that a strengthening happens on the inhale and not just the exhale. This builds physical and emotion resilience while decreasing pelvic floor dysfunction.

Watch a video on this below.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Emotional resilience

I want to help you have both a healthy pelvic floor and optimal emotional resilience. You can  sign up for zoom video classes that integrate true diaphragmatic breathing and your jelly fish here. I am also available in person in Northampton, MA or online for one on one sessions.

Life can often make basic well being hard. I hav been there. Let me help you by sharing the tools I have that let me exist happily in the midst of chaos.