The Down Dog and Puppy Dog Blog: What You Are Missing

The Down Dog and Puppy Dog Blog: What You Are Missing

This video was created because of my yoga former teacher training students, 
may you never stop learning.

The Down Dog and Puppy Dog Blog: What You Are Missing

I never really gave much thought to Down Dog. I mean, it was a pose that I could do for the most part. Sure my shoulders were weak, and I felt a bit shaky. Overall, my Dog was down. 

Well, at least I thought. I believe there is a part of your brain that stops thinking, opening itself up to learning when we think we got it. That was me in Down Dog. 

As my shoulders got stronger to hold the weight of my body, I began to build patterns to get the pose done. Patterns that left me avoiding critical areas that I could most certainly be liberating via The Dog. 

A few years after entering into the world of teaching yoga, I soon discovered I was missing some significant aspects of training in the asana department. I mean, I knew the basics. This pose looks like this, so let’s shove your body into that pose. Amen. (insert sarcasm) 

Downward Facing Dog Pose with Hope Zvara

An entirely new world opened up to me when I stepped out of the yoga world to learn more about the body. Like really learn about how the body moves, why things happen, why body parts hurt and how to unwind the body with cues and directions beyond “if it hurts don’t do it” and “honor your body.” Which are both beautiful and sound cues, but I wanted to understand? I wanted my students to understand so that they and I could take back ownership over our bodies and start to truly mend injuries and issues that don’t ever seem to go away. 

I took training from The Gray’s Institute. From Katy Bowman, Leslee Bender, Anatomy Trains, and got my hands on all I could find from the teachings of Dr. Stewart McGill, to name a few. 

I first started to apply these concepts to my practice and saw a remarkable difference — less pain in my shoulders and lower back. The longstanding stability issues in my pelvis began to improve, and for the first time, I truly understood where the core was and how to access it. 

There was a time I would walk around the room while teaching and see a student’s shoulders what I now know as “internally rotated.” I’d attempt to grab onto his (or her) upper arms and roll them out. And when they didn’t even move a millimeter, I’d walk away pretending like that was how it was supposed to be. If you are a teacher you can relate. I wanted to help; I saw the issue but didn’t know exactly how to adjust the pose or how to “fix” it. Like why didn’t that work? Why didn’t they move? What was I missing? 

A lot of this video is to explain that. One’s shoulders are acting immobile and how to begin to correct this. 

How to do downward facing dog pose blog by hope zvara

The day I was introduced to Puppy Dog in a new way, my entire teachings revolving around Down Dog and shoulder issues changed. 

All-day long we sit, we are internally rotated at the shoulder, collapsed in the chest, and limited in mobility between the shoulder and the rib cage. So no wonder when we come to yoga and pop up into Down Dog with little notice and warm-up, we are in my mind (we could be) doing more harm than good. 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO

It is my observation that Down Dog and Puppy Dog’s focus is NOT the hamstrings as they often take over the pose. Using cues to press their heels down (which is fine and dandy) and walk their Dog as the first cue in the pose. The focus, first and foremost, is the spine and shoulders, hamstrings, and calves. 

 Downward Dog is us upside down. And we should approach it in such away. 

If your hips are tight before a hippie pose, we work them. The same should be valid for the shoulders. 

Meet Puppy Dog Pose. Puppy Dog is not a fancy pose and most often looked at as a modification or lesser variation. But do not be fooled, my friend. Puppy Dog will expose everything Down Dog lets you avoid. 

Puppy Dog Pose with Hope Zvara

Puppy Dog assertively guides your shoulders and arms into their proper position- external rotation. It’s that fantastic stretch across the upper back and gives you back that full range of motion a little bit by little bit that Down Dog has been allowing you to skip over for all these years. 

Puppy Dog gives you that broadening, lift, and support we struggle to find in Down Dog. And when our Down Dog’s spine looks like a macaroni noodle releasing the hamstrings and bending the knees is the action step we want to cue. See, when the arms are at full extension, and the legs everything is pulled to its max and the spine gets caught in the middle. You end up with a rounded back, tucked pelvis and shoulder issues waiting to arise. Oh snap! I didn’t even mention proper leg rotation. GAME CHANGER! 

As you will find out in this video, by releasing some of the tension and adequately positioning the shoulders, you get an entirely different experience. One that in my mind is wayyyyyy better than the stuff I was experiencing earlier. 

Stiffness, not your issue? Watch the video and find out how to build stability by doing Down Facing Dog and Puppy Dog the right way. 

But honestly, whether you watch this video or not. The Benefits of Down Dog and Puppy Dog are out of this world amazing! 

Benefits of Down Dog and Puppy Dog:

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Energizes the body
  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
  • Strengthens the arms and legs
  • Helps reduce the symptoms of menopause
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis
  • Improves digestion
  • Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
  • Therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis
  • Tones the arms and legs
  • Opens the chest
  • Tones the arms
  • Tones the core
  • Releases the spine and back
  • Builds strength in hands, wrists, shoulders

 

Check out Hope’s other blog: 5 Things You Should be Doing to Help Back Pain

 Join Hope’s Online Community: Mindful Movement & Yoga Studio 

Subscribe to Hope’s YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/hopezvara

Trim Your Waistline – Outrageous Obliques

Trim Your Waistline – Outrageous Obliques

As a fitness professional for over a decade, I have pretty much seen it all. Especially when it comes to core-based exercise. When you consider trying to bring some more attention to your midsection (and your obliques), a few things are important to consider:

Core work flat on your back is out!

Think about it, how do you spend your day? Upright! So doesn’t it make more sense to work with gravity in that manner?

Focus on feeling rather than doing.

Find guides that really help you tune into not only what you should be doing, but what you should and shouldn’t be feeling. If you need somewhere to start, consider my Mindful Movement Online Studio (just $9.99/month)

Work from the inside out.

No matter what you do, everything is core work. That being said, it all starts with a conscious pelvic-core (pelvic floor muscles plus deep core muscles) contraction.

We have a deep oblique — called the internal oblique — and an external oblique. These muscles overlap each other.

We need our obliques for many things: They offer support and stability for the back and hips. When developed properly, they improve spinal support, movement and function, as well as the relationship between the rib cage and pelvis. Strength to twist, bend sideways and rotate comes a great deal from our amazing obliques.

Here is one of my favorite tributes to our famous obliques:

  1. Start in a kneeling position (be sure to pad your knees if necessary), and grab your weight (if using one).
  2. Find neutral pelvis (your pubis bone and hip bones should run parallel with the wall you are facing).
  3. Contract your pelvic-core muscles (think bathroom muscles and torso muscles, much like when you cough).
  4. Steadily extend your right leg out to the side, turning your right foot parallel to your knee. Be sure to anchor your foot into the floor.
  5. Holding your weight in front of your chest, draw your elbows wide and relax your shoulders.
  6. Inhale, tip to the left as far as you can control, without folding in your left hip.
  7. Exhale, feel your waist (obliques) carry you back up with control. You should not feel any downward pressure into your pelvic floor when you lift (remember to keep those muscles strong).
  8. Repeat this process 10 times on each side. After you have repeated this on both sides, go back to your weaker side and complete the process again for a 2-to-1 ratio (weaker to stronger). If the weight creates too much tension work, do this exercise without added weight in front and instead hold opposite elbows with your forearms at chest height.

 

Here are some more resources on firing up your obliques!

Fire Up The Obliques With The Ring Of Fire

Get your Arms and Obliques Beach Body Ready — Oblique Lift & Lower

Better Obliques with Stretch and Strengthen

Oblique Jump Start, a Journey into the Real Core!

Arms & Obliques Oh’ My with Side Plank Lift & Lower

 

Have fun and keep at it!

 

 

This post was originally published on Nature’s Pathways, and updated on 10/4/19.

How To Get The Most Out Of Plank Pose

How To Get The Most Out Of Plank Pose

Almost every yoga class features at least one plank, yet very few can honestly say that they know completely what’s going on in Plankasana. Most view it as a great core asana, yet few actually access their true core. Many are cheating themselves or hurting their backs by allowing their arms to do all the work. You may not even realize you are doing plank WRONG!

To help you take full advantage of Plankasana, here’s an overview of this widely used, but often misunderstood asana. These lessons are adapted from a blog post I wrote for MindBodyGreen. For a limited time, I am offering my Master Plank course (6 weeks full of core-engaging content) for FREE! Sign Up today to get access to the course and get your plank in shape.

1. Pick your variation.

Will you be practicing on your hands or on your forearms? If you’re going to be practicing on your palms, set up your hands shoulder-distance apart and align the wrists under the shoulders. With your middle fingers pointing forward, press your entire hand into the floor, keeping a bit more weight in the knuckles.

From the shoulder, rotate the folds of the elbows forward, without hyperextending the joint (they look like they’re bending in the wrong direction). This is important so that you’re able to shift the load down into the core and prevent the shoulders from doing all the work. Without hunching, slide the shoulder blades down your back.

If you prefer planking on your forearms, get out of the habit of clasping the hands together in a triangle shape. This puts an emphasis on the pectorals, rather than the core. By opening up the arms to shoulder width, you shift the load to where it belongs. Turn the palms inward or upward when practicing, rather than down into the floor. Shift the weight evenly throughout the entire forearm and you’ll notice a significant increase in core power. Use a block between the palms for more core strength!

2. Get your legs in gear.

Your inner thighs are your pelvic floor’s favorite neighbor (way more than your butt). Bring your feet together so that they touch and engage your thighs inward toward each other. Then, press the quadriceps upward without hiking your buttocks. If you pay close enough attention, you should notice some activation in your pelvic floor area. By placing a foam yoga block or mini ball between the lower part of the thigh, you can generate more action in this area.

3. Resist gravity with the core.

Align your pelvis in neutral position (ASIS and pubis bone make a triangle shape that runs parallel to the floor), and resist gravity. By resisting gravity, you’re turning on your transversus abdominis, the hoop-like muscle at the deepest layer of the core. This is where the stability of plank begins.

Think of plank in thirds: 1/3 arms, 1/3 legs, 1/3 core. When you break down plank this way, you can focus on each section of the body and create better stability. Once you’ve successfully positioned yourself, check to make sure your head isn’t sagging (it puts more pressure on your wrists). Create length from your heels pressing back (not touching the floor) and your crown stretching forward.

Grab a partner and ask your partner to take her first two fingers and open them up like an upside-down V. Take that V and place a finger on each side of the lower spine. As she presses down on your lower back, resist her without pushing your buttocks upward or sagging down towards the floor. What you should feel is a quiver. This is the transversus abdominis earthquake.

4. Hold Your Plank.

Remain in Plankasana for up to 10 breaths, limiting belly breathing and maximizing side body breathing.

In Plank there should be zero back pain and no hip flexor pain. This can take time to perfect, especially if you’ve used everything but your core to do the core’s job throughout your entire life.

If your shoulder blades look like wings on an airplane, press into your palms and work to lift the rib cage up away from the floor. You’ll benefit greatly from the scapula push-up.

If you’re the opposite and you overly round your upper back (still avoiding your core), you’re probably overexerting your arm and chest muscles. Try sinking your chest a bit. As a teacher, I often rub my hand on the upper back to help smooth out this area.

 

The next time you practice plank, take a few extra moments to explain it thoroughly to your students or run through the tweaks yourself. Your core will thank you later. If you want more help with MASTERING your plank, join me in my six-week Master Plank course, FREE for a limited time.

Master Plank Course Hope Zvara

If you are looking to strengthen your TRUE core for core stability, mobility, and functionality, consider the Three-Week Core Functional Fitness Course. My Core Functional Fitness Training approaches your core from all planes of motion – the way our bodies REALLY move – to reduce pain and injury, improve function, and deliver REAL power to your core – 408% more power!

Core Functional Fitness Hope Zvara

 

Happy Planking!

 

Beginners Core: How to do Pelvic Tilts

Beginners Core: How to do Pelvic Tilts

Beginners Core: How to do Pelvic Tilts.

What if reducing back pain, increasing core awareness and strength. Reducing hip pain and aiding the natural curves in your spine “where” easy to do?

It has been brought to my attention on more than one occasion that we as a society often overlook the power of simplicity. Is it that we are lead to believe that if something isn’t complicated? Or expensive or taught at a fancy center that it cannot truly be helpful?

I occasionally get students mention that they are off to PT for this or that. Only to find that what they are being told to do are the very things they are learning in my classes. And the therapists are amazed at their sense of awareness and ability. Now this is not to too my own horn. But rather push my point that sometimes we don’t realize the power of something until we step away from it.

And the same goes for simple movements.

Have back pain? Who doesn’t?

Struggling with your, ahem, pelvic floor? You’re not alone.

What if there was something you could be doing right now to help those areas improve?

Would you be O.K. with the notion that the approach was simple, elementary, small and lacks a fancy name and does not end in a complicated arm balance? Would that be O.K.?

Sometimes to truly take a step forward, we do in-fact have to take a step back, and that is where pelvic tilts come in.

Not in the sense that we are losing ground or less than, but rather that we are in deep need to create a deeper sense of awareness and understanding of our body and how it moves.

Pelvic tilts truly are one of my most favorite moves, and I often think of it as a secret weapon! This small movement packs a powerful punch! That it simultaneously free your lower back release your hip flexors. In addition pelvic tilts improve core function and awareness and ungulates your entire spine.

I know what you are thinking now, “where can you sign me up” for learning how to do pelvic tilts??

Except as a yoga and movement teacher for over fifteen years now I have learned that one: I was practicing pelvic tilting all wrong. And two: I see many following in my similar foot steps.

Let’s fix that!

There are tons of benefits to pelvic tilting and it SHOULD be an exercise that everyone does regularly. Because you can do it in just about any plane of motion and position.

If you need a list of reasons WHY pelvic tilts are not just good for you, but necessary!

What are the benefits of Pelvic Tilts?

  • * Pelvic tilts create a sense of awareness of the pelvic floor muscles
  • *Pelvic tilts release sacral (SI joint) pain
  • *Pelvic tilts release the femur, tailbone, sacrum connection for more mobility and motility
  • *Pelvic tilts help one access and tone the lower abdomen muscles
  • *Pelvic tilts release lower back
  • *Pelvic tilts liberate the entire spine
  • *Pelvic tilts loosen tightness hanging on the shoulders
  • *Pelvic tilts release tightness of the inner hips and inner pelvic attachments
  • *Pelvic tilts tone the pelvic floor and core muscles
  • *Pelvic tilts activate the glutes/buttocks
  • *Pelvic tilts increase awareness of the hip-spine relationship
  • *Pelvic tilts assist in a deeper breathing and better lung use
  • *Pelvic tilts enhance your body’s natural alignment and curvature
  • *Pelvic tilts assist your lumbo-pelvic relationship to sit in neutral with less pain and restriction
  • *Pelvic tilts improve posture
  • *Pelvic tilts help you look taller and leaner
  • *Pelvic tilts teach you how to wear your core on the inside of the body rather than the outside
  • *Pelvic tilts release the lateral side body
  • *Pelvic tilts stretch the abdominal walls from sitting all day
  • *Pelvic tilts release the fascial netting of the lower body and spine.

By now you are wondering how do you effectively and properly practice pelvic tilts?

How To Do Pelvic Tilts:

  1. Pick your position. You can practice pelvic tilting lying down, standing in a slight chair pose, sitting, or even prone. I think supine is the simplest way to practice and the floor gives you good feedback as to what you are doing for starters.
  2. Lying down with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, make sure your heels are not too close to your sit bones, when they are too close it inhibits the range of motion for pelvic tilting.
  3. Find your breath, a deep breath in through your nose and out through your nose to settle into your body.
  4. Keep your body relaxed for now, INHALE and work to arch your lower back away from the floor, like there was a pin poking you. Do not lift your hips off the ground. Go as far as you can comfortably and keep stretching until your inhale is complete.
  5. Pause for a moment.
  6. Now EXHALE and glide your lower back into the floor, WITHOUT squeezing your buttocks together or lifting your hips up off the floor while pelvic tilting.
  7. Now repeat again drawing a deeper sense of awareness to the movement, between what moves and what doesn’t.
  8. After a few rounds, on the exhales work to draw awareness and attention to your anal sphincter, with the exhale on the posterior tilt (when you tip back into the floor) work to contract that part of the pelvic floor. Notice what else wants to contract, more than likely trying to do the job for this part of your pelvic floor, especially if you have never used it before.
  9. Inhale release the anal sphincter. You will notice if you contracted when you proceed to release. Do this several rounds.
  10. Now mentally move forward on your pelvic floor and work to contract the vaginal passageway or for men the soft tissue behind the scrotum. For many this will be more difficult, especially if there was trauma (like giving birth) the nerves and tissues may not be connecting back with the brain properly.
  11. Repeat the process of EXHALE contract and tip back, and INHALE release and tip forward. This will feel more internal. Think about contracting while in cold water, or for men like flexing an erection, women engaging during intercourse. (I see potential practice opportunities to engage your pelvic floor here).
  12. Now finally move even more forward on the pelvic floor and think about where your pubis bone is and work to contract the lower front belly and pelvic floor on the exhales. This will feel more like pulling inward on the belly, but this time it’s triggered by the pelvic floor not the navel. Think of the action of cutting off the flow of urine or holding when you have to go to the bathroom. Good news, those two actions ask you to use your pelvic floor muscles.
  13. Repeat tilting trying to engage each of these three areas, all individually, and all together. Notice what is easier and what takes more work.

A few other tips about pelvic tilts:

As you become more comfortable with the movement, especially while lying down. Consider adding in the arms to the movement. INHALE and arch the back, release the pelvic floor, AND reach your arms overhead! STRETCH. Exhale and return back to the floor and contract the pelvic floor.

By incorporating the arms in you get more of a full spinal interaction. Plus, the hip flexors and lower back get even more lime light. Notice when reaching if one arm hits the floor and the other does not. This can easily become a tool for not only teaching pelvic floor activation and releasing the lower back. Which can also assist spinal and fascial assessment as well.

Here’s to happy pelvic tilts!

PS Not sure where the heck your pelvic floor is??? >>> CLICK HERE.  <<<

And learn about it NOW!

PPS Here is a great video I shot of an entire series of pelvic tilting, core integration and full spinal release! Because everyone needs a visual!

 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>CLICK HERE <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Posture Problems: 5 Yoga Poses for Perfect Posture

Posture Problems: 5 Yoga Poses for Perfect Posture

Practice makes perfect. And I’m talking posture!

Imagine being in a room full of people and someone walks in and instantly commands the room without a word spoken.

How do they do that? Fancy clothes? Fireworks? Paid groupies?

No. Amazing posture.

Perfect posture.

Because how you carry yourself says a lot about who you are, your self esteem, your relationship with the world, and how you feel about yourself.

Ever observe someone depressed. They posture says “don’t come near me, don’t touch me”, a fetal like position of protection.

But when you see that person whose posture screams confidence, openness and ease, you can’t help but want some of that secret sauce they have been drinking.

Only they haven’t been drinking, they have been moving. Moving in the right way.

So to help you on your posture perfect path not only for your bodies health and alignment, but your own mental, emotional and social health here are my TOP 5 POSTURE PERFECT YOGA POSES.

Top 5 Yoga Poses for Better Posture

1. Heart Opening Mountain Pose

  • Standing at attention with your weight even on your feet.
  • Turn your feet to face forward and draw your pelvic into neutral (pubis bone and front hip bones all parallel with the front wall).
  • Interlace your fingers behind your back (or grab a strap or towel if your hands can’t clasp or you can clasp but have no range of motion).
  • INHALE, drawing the shoulder blades together and down as the arms externally rotate.
  • Lift your chest gently and keeping space in the back of the neck gently look up.

Play with rotating your arms and wrists to find the most appropriate release in the shoulders. Breathe deeply into the lungs to open the chest further. Enjoy for five to ten breaths.

Mountain Pose

2. Shoulder Blade Runner

  • Standing at attention in Mountain Pose, draw your arms up in front of you at shoulder height.
  • Turn your palms to face each other and the folds of your elbows to to gently face up (no hyper extension), keeping a solid pelvis (see #1) and a stable rib cage (no thrusting). Only move your shoulders.
  • Inhale, pinching your shoulder blades together like they are going to come together over your spine.
  • Exhale: reach your arms away without rounding your shoulders forward like you are reaching for an object just out of reach.

Repeat this movement focusing on range of motion ten to twenty times.

Shoulder Blade Runner

3. Turkey Neck Stretch

  • Seated tall, relax your shoulders down and back.
  • Drop your head forward and using your fingers pull down on the skin at your clavicles.
  • Keep that connection and open your mouth as wide as you can.
  • Keeping it open, tip the head back, as you do so pull down on the skin creating a facial stretch.
  • Now close your mouth and imagine you have an under bite and push the bottom jaw upward.
  • Try sliding the bottom jaw side to side to find the most viable stretch. Hold for up to ten breaths.
  • Gently bring the head back to center.

Turkey Neck Stretch

4. Melting Wheel

Dust off your large Swiss ball (the one you bought thinking you’d sit on at your desk, make sure it’s well inflated). Take a seat on the edge of it and slowly start to lean back over the ball. If your lower back feels tight, tip the tail bone up between the legs to lengthen the lower back. Now play with where your arms lay to open the front line of the body and pretend that you are making a snow angel and when you find a point of release, hold your arms there until you feel release (your arms may not be symmetrical).

Play with your body and using your legs, experiment with squatting and then moving your head towards the ground to choose where you want to focus-lower back and hip flexors or chest, arms and shoulders. Enjoy as long as you feel comfortable. To come up, begin to squat and roll yourself up back on top of the ball. And counter balance by hinging forward.

Melting Wheel

5. Rolling Forward Fold

Staring in Mountain Pose, bend the knees and imagine you are like a flag blowing in the wind. Exhale and loosely roll yourself down into Forward Bend. Like you were jumping on a trampoline, bend your knees and think about being sprung up (rolling) into a standing extension.

In standing extension keep your knees bent and float your pelvis forward as you arch back. You should feel your core turn on and your front line of the body stretch. Exhale, bend the knees and fall/roll back down (think less control and more flow). Repeat this movement fine to ten times.

Rolling Forward Fold

Posture does make perfect. Because how you present yourself to the world is how you receive it back.

For more moves just like these check out my ONLINE MOVEMENT STUDIO

>>>> $9.99 a month for UNLIMITED ACCESS to moves that make sense! <<<< 

I want to know: Which move do you like most? 

 

Working Your Pelvic Floor: 3 Things to Know

Working Your Pelvic Floor: 3 Things to Know

Working your pelvic floor: three things to know.

The uncomfortable stare you get back, when during your yoga class you utter the words “anal sphincter” or “vaginal passage way”… or worst yet “soft tissue behind the scrotum”.

This is the initial middle-schooler-discomfort my studio room usually filled with when I would connect the exercise or request with a direct body part. You could just feel the air get thick with discomfort. But why? These are body parts like any other. So why not the bicep? Or the glute? The thigh or abdomen? Taboo that lurked in the shadows around such body parts soon became my mission to bust through. Not for my sake as a teacher, but for my students’ bodies.

About 15 years ago I started questioning my grounds for being a teacher. I started questioning the ‘whys’ behind the movements and when my students were complaining things hurt or felt funny and my trained response was “that’s normal” or “it will get better”. I began to soon realize that it wasn’t my students who had to change, it was me and how and why I was doing what I was doing in the class. Because truth be told… I didn’t even really know!

I had completed my 500 hours for yoga and had taken almost a dozen training’s in the Pilates arena, but I still felt unequipped to explain the why’s and how’s to my students. And I could perform some fairly complicated postures, and was able to guide students though amazing classes and posture progression. But lacked one very important skill, the ability to take them deep into their body and see for themselves what should be going on. What should be happening. What should be firing or not firing in order to have the best experience possible in the pose and class.

At that time it became very clear to me I wasn’t going to find that in the yoga arena and decided to step outside the yoga box and start to study the body and how it moves in real time, and specifically how it relates to the core.

And when I came back, it was go time to re-educate, re-inspire, and re-focus my students so they could heal their bodies, and take back their lives. Starting with the pelvic floor.

3 Things You Should Know about Working your Pelvic Floor:

1. Your Pelvic floor is located at the bottom of your torso

ONE: When working your pelvic floor, you should know that your pelvic floor is located at the bottom of your torso, and refers to the numerous muscles that attach to your pelvic and thigh bones. These muscles need to be located directly below you, so like a houses foundation they can appropriately support what is above. So if you have poor misguided posture you could surely find yourself with pelvic floor pain, back pain, hip flexor strain or injury, or lack of good core (even glutes) strength. I often guide my students to what is sometimes called “pelvic neutral”. This serves as a “home base” in that like anything, where should I start. This is essential in assisting other muscles to begin to do their jobs as well. It doesn’t mean you walk around like a robot, but rather if your body is out of alignment, getting back there will surely serve in healthy recruiting of all muscles-pelvic floor included.

TIP: Place your hands on your (front) hip bones and pubic bone and work to align this structure to be parallel with the wall, ceiling or floor you are facing. This may seem off if you are not use to this type of posture. Start here, and try to find this posture during the day to help your body find it’s home base again. Putting your pelvic floor back underneath you and core back inside of you.

2. Incontinence is not a normal part of aging

TWO: When working your pelvic floor, many women (and men) believe that incontinence is a “normal” part of aging. However, at no point is incontinence a part of the aging process in reflection to your pelvic floor. And what has become very clear to me is very few (even the most “fit”) don’t really understand how to contract the pelvic floor, in that they bear down rather than contract up and in. If you have incontinence issues and have had a child, endured some sort of trauma, or injury, neuromuscular retraining may be in your future.

TIP: I tell all my students: “first you have to understand it, then you have to visualize it (or at least be able to guide yourself there if you are not one who can visualize), then feel and perform to truly create that new fully functioning pathway. Being anywhere on that path is a successful step in the right direction. And being told to “contract your pelvic floor” (unless you know the where’s and how’s of those muscles) is not enough.

3. Squeezing doesn’t get the job done

THREE: When working your pelvic floor, many people believe that just squeezing “down there” gets the job done. However that could not be farther from the truth. For many squeezing what they believe to be the pelvic floor is only the engagement of the glutes or hip flexors, or even just part of the pelvic floor.  This is exactly why it is vital to invest time in feeling out these parts of the body upon engagement. I work to explain to my students that when one area of the body isn’t cooperating or maybe can’t hear or understand the command, other neighboring body parts step up and say “I got this”. Except the body can only do “other” jobs that aren’t that area’s for so long. Eventually you will feel pain, dysfunction, or experience injury – many times in the form of a random occurrence that has no trailing back to the how or why.

TIP: During your yoga or exercise class slow it down and ask yourself “what muscle(s), what body parts (think locations, no need to know exact names) are getting the job done? Most just do and never slow down to see. When you can see what’s going on you can change it’s course. You will then find a huge improvement in how you move and the quality of movement as well.

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a real thing and not just a title deemed for those who have experienced a large physical trauma or have had a baby. Our sedentary culture obsessed with extreme movement is a cocktail that can and is wrecking havoc on our bodies with no bridge to fill the gap between no movement and extreme variations of.

Consider a class, session or guide who can take you through the exercises with an understanding and education so you can start to better understand both how your body moves and how it currently does not. Learn what to focus on and what to do or not do to begin to heal the areas of concern, one being the pelvic floor. Because if they don’t talk about it, is it fair to assume they don’t understand it. And if they don’t understand it, how will you?

“Take care of your body, it’s the only one you have and replacement parts are never as good as the originals” ~ Hope Zvara

Want to work with Hope and begin the journey to a more powerful pelvic floor? No fancy moves! No hard to understand language! No fluff!

Just moves that make sense in a program made just for you!

>>>>> CHECK OUT PELVIC-CORE RESTORE HERE <<<<<

Pin It on Pinterest