The Connected Breath
Breathing is powerfully impactful for the pelvic floor. It is also a profound tool for help with Diastasis Recti .
Your pelvic floor muscles work automatically with the breath but there are ways to slow down and begin to connect. Breathing is a simple place to start connecting to your pelvic floor. I find it helpful to do when someone has difficulty with pelvic floor awareness or contraction.
You can practice connecting when lying down, in standing, or seated, the you eventually want to move on to broader movement patterns and exercises. One key tip – think of your Kegel as “picking up a tissue.” It should be light and gentle not squeezing and gripping as if you were crumpling a tissue with your hand.
The diaphragm and pelvic floor have a unique relationship that works in unison. This connection can help to retrain timing and coordination, to balance pressure, and to learn how to match the tension to the task. Sometimes it’s about learning to contract and sometimes it about learning to let go.
Check out this tutorial on connecting your breath to pelvic floor, then keep reading for more self help tools.
Are you trying to remember to do your kegels but left wondering if it is even accomplishing anything?
You aren’t alone.
Pelvic floor issues can include tightness, weakness, pressure, heaviness, leakage, and pain. Kegels can help, so can changing up your pressure, or tension, breath pattern, or learning to down regulate. There is no one size fits all exercise! Pelvic floor training should meet you where you’re at.
6 Tips to stop leaking now
So now you know how to connect let’s dive deeper. Breathing regulates pressure which is important for pelvic floor symptoms. Changing the pressure may be one key place to start training for impact and load. Begin first by noticing whether you hold your breath or breathe shallow, or notice where your pressure is located. We can adapt this and train it differently.
Bracing the abs is another common strategy but may increase tension in the pelvic floor. Tension in the pelvic floor changes the way the muscles act on impact and could contribute to incontinence. Remember your pelvic floor is like a trampoline, it needs to have a balance between tension and motion.
For you next workout, practice less bracing. Keep breathing and keep the body light with movement. This may help to reduce tension and change your symptoms.
One key tip- match the tension to the task. You don’t need to create the same amount of tension for a load that is 50% of your 1RM as you do for the 1RM itself. For example, bracing to pick up a pencil may not be necessary, but bracing before deadlifting 150 pounds will be.
If you are tired of just doing keels and want better, more simple solutions, download this free self help cheat sheet for returning to impact sports.
360 Degree breathing
You’ve probably heard of diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing, but 360 breathing accounts for full expansion all the way around the trunk. This video shows you how to test your breath strategy and how to train more expansion which can be a great way to change both pressure and tension on the pelvic floor.
Slowing down your breath and expanding your lower rib cage can improve your stress response which in turn has effects on reducing pelvic floor tension. This is discussed further at the end of this article.
The breath is a pretty powerful tool.
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