Yoga for Pelvic Wellness

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    Revised July 2020

    Did you know?

    • 50% of women who have had children have some degree of prolapse1; and some are not aware of it.
    • 95% of lower back pain is caused by pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD)2.
    • 1/3 of women experience urinary incontinence3 .

    These are sobering statistics (and I stopped myself at listing only three types of PFD!). If pelvic floor dysfunction is so common, why aren’t women and their doctors more well-informed? My intent in sharing these numbers is not to scare people. It is to offer hope. The pelvic floor is like any other part of the body – if something is out of whack, it speaks to us through symptoms. The body is a healing machine & given the right treatment and conditions, many people can experience relief from pain, leakage and other symptoms that have a huge impact on quality of life.

    The pelvic floor is made up of the ‘core four’ muscles. Using the image of a canister, the breathing diaphragm is at the top, transverse abdominals in the front, multifidus (muscles that attach to the spine) at the back and pelvic diaphragm at the bottom. Issues can occur in any of these of muscles or the coordination between them, caused by such things as pregnancy, abdominal straining in fitness (e.g. crunches), constipation and poor posture. Pelvic floor physiotherapy is the gold standard in treating a wide range of dysfunction. Yoga takes a whole body approach and can help with effective breathing exercises, body awareness, as well as movements to relax and strengthen the various muscles. One study showed that women who participated in a yoga class experienced a 70% reduction in urinary incontinence4. I hope they had a party at the end!

    It’s important to bust some of the myths that prevent women from seeking help. Incontinence is not a normal part of aging. Nor is painful sex something women just have to live with. Kegels are not the magic bullet. In fact, doing Kegels can make some problems worse. I get upset when I think about the suffering of women who think that nothing can be done, and they have to struggle daily with embarrassment, social isolation or pain. There is also the issue of medications or surgery for some types of pelvic floor dysfunction which may or may not work & have difficult side effects. In addition to pelvic floor physiotherapy, yoga can empower women to take charge of their pelvic health.

    My private yoga classes are suitable for women with or without known pelvic floor dysfunction. No yoga experience is necessary. Sessions include breathing exercises, simple yoga moves for body and pelvic floor awareness, and education. Intake will include a self-assessment of the pelvic floor which will flag issues for follow up by a health care provider. Privacy and discretion are assured.

    Please visit my information page about Yoga for Pelvic Wellness. 

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    © Kathleen Pratt, 2020, Kingston, Ontario

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    Spiritual Lineage Acknowledgement

    Yoga's historical roots originated in India more than 5000 years ago.  I am evermore grateful to my teachers and for the ancient wisdom that informs my yoga practice and teaching. I strive to practice and uphold the ethics of yoga to create a more peaceful, just world. I commit to engaging in continuing education and self-reflection to avoid cultural appropriation.

    Land Acknowledgement

    I offer respect and gratitude to the First Peoples and caretakers of the land I call home: the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Huron-Wendat nations.