Happy Saturday (again)! Our last Saturday of Summer of Core!
Is it me, or has this month flown by? I hope that however fast August seems to have gone by for you that your core, at least, has been feeling like it’s been putting in some long hours!
Today, similar to last Saturday, we are going to be doing an exercise that can be done anywhere at any time: Mountain Pose, tadasana in Sanskrit.
For those of you who have been to my class, you know that I like to go through a long series of body awareness to get into a full Mountain Pose. After finding the feet and strength in the legs, we travel right up into our pelvic floor. But what is the pelvic floor?
Here’s an illustration of a female body, identifying the pelvic floor. Men have pelvic floor too!
In short, it’s the muscle that keeps everything from falling out.
Finding the pelvic floor, however, can be difficult. But there are a couple of ways:
- Imagine you’re zipping up a tight pair of pants. Feel your low abs pull up and in, as if you’re lifting from the ground up.
- Imagine wading into cold water. When it gets to your pelvic area, you cinch up.
- It’s a similar feeling to retaining urine, though with less urgency!
- Kegels! Kegels are a contraction and relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles. If you’ve done Kegel exercises before, you have worked your pelvic floor! To keep the pelvic floor engaged, don’t release, but continue to contract gently, feeling a subtle lift.
Hopefully, one of these ways will work for you. Remember that this is a subtle move. You should be able to keep your pelvic floor lifted and engaged while breathing, even with deep, yogic breath.
Moving into Mountain
- Standing with your feet hip-width apart, close your eyes.
- Imagine your feet rooting into the ground, forming your foundation.
- Allow the ground to push up into your feet, drawing that energy up your legs.
- Lift your kneecaps, engage your thighs.
- And now lift the pelvic floor!
- Feel your low, deep abs engage and lift, followed by a lifting throughout your entire spine.
- Reach to the sky from the crown of your head.
- Relax your shoulders down and back, away from your ears.
- Stretch your arms long, reaching through your fingers, palms forward.
- Draw your ears back in line with your shoulders.
- Soften the muscles in your face, your jaw, your throat.
- Pause and breathe.
Foundation for Everything
Mountain pose is a fundamental pose for all standing postures, and I like to bring a reminder into my classes to think about your posture and engagement in mountain pose in many other positions. It’s especially helpful in balancing positions, as the act of lifting from your center, getting long and stable, engaging your core and standing tall will give you a stronger ability to hold a balancing pose.
Do It All Day Long
So today, and for the rest of the weekend, take time to check in with your pelvic floor, while you’re washing dishes, or watching TV or reading a book, or sitting at a baseball game (which I will be doing later). Get used to that feeling and give yourself permission to bring it into a daily practice.
See you on Monday for our last three days of Summer of Core!