Some say that the cradle of civilization is somewhere in Iraq. I think as women we know right where it is!!!
The pelvic floor is comprised of muscles and connective tissue around the vagina and anus. The pelvic floor controls both the anus and urethral sphincter- the latter being the muscle that controls the flow of urine and contracts during orgasm. The pelvic floor is the supporting structure for all organs between the pubic bone and tailbone. There is also a fascial connection between the lower abdominals and the pelvic floor. Daily activity, utilizing a full range of movements through the hip joints, pelvis and torso are essential in keeping your floor healthy and functioning well.
Contract your sphincter muscles, which surround the urethra ,vagina and rectum. Do not tighten your but, or abdominal wall. You want to keep up a feeling and sense of expansion in the pelvic floor at all times. You may feel a response in your lower abdominals, because of the fascial connection that is shared. Hold for 6 seconds and release slowly. Hold this sense of contraction for 6 seconds and release slowly. Repeat 6-10 times. You can use the visualization of a flower opening with your inhale and it returning to a bud on your exhale to aid in this movement.
Sense your sphincter muscles again between the rectum and vagina. Lift as far as you can and use the patterns of holding and repetition as above. You can use a visualization of an elevator going up one floor at a time, and on release the elevator going down. Remember, don’t use any accessory muscles, buttocks, or tighten your jaw or face in concentration! We want to gain some control in isolating the pelvic floor while it is supported, from the abdominal wall, despite them being so intrinsically enmeshed, for some of our more forceful, staccato type movements.
Ideally, you need to do this while you are breathing. It doesn’t help us to innervate our pelvic floor while we are holding our breath. You want to start to feel the relationship between a normal breath where the diaphragm mobilizes normally and a responsive pelvic floor.. With repetition, connecting the breath to an organic response in your pelvic floor is ideal. What’s better, is to also connect it to every day movements and challenging movements in dance class, where the possibility of compressing is possible with out your focused intent to do otherwise. What’s best, is to retrain the body so you don’t have to think about it, it becomes as natural as your breath.
All of this is just a nut shell, a little piece of the puzzle that makes up a dynamic dancing body.