|Posted on May 5, 2017 at 8:45 PM|
How reading Tami Lynn Kent’s book Wild Feminine affected my Pilates and Yoga practice, and why Wild Feminine is a must read for all women.
My world changed profoundly when I started reading the book Wild Feminine by Tami Lynn Kent. Through my Pilates practice I had a relationship with my pelvis and body from an exercise perspective, and as I moved through the chapters of Wild Feminine, I cultivated a deeper relationship with my body from a meditative and energetic perspective. The body speaks to us, although we must attune our hearing to understand its messages. Practicing the Wild Feminine meditations opened my mind and my heart to what Tami Lynn Kent calls “Root Wisdom”, the knowledge, understanding, and dialogue that come from consciously relating to your pelvis.
The Landscape of the Wild Feminine is broad and is unique for each woman. My profession is teaching Pilates, Yoga, Yamuna Body Rolling, Craniosacral Therapy and Spiritual Healing, so the cultivation of the Wild feminine for me reveals my passion for movement, breath, and healing. How the Wild Feminine speaks through you may be wildly different, as God made us each unique with our purposeful spots around the circle and our individual gifts to offer. This is my tale of how reading Wild Feminine has affected my practice of exercise and exploration of healing.
As a teacher of Pilates, in our training we are encouraged to learn where the muscles attach to the bones and the lines of pull those muscles create. Finding which movements bring the body to balance is also part of my training. As my Wild Feminine meditations became more regular, I had an epiphany one day when I was taking a fellow instructor’s class. She reflected back to me that my pelvis was misaligned, one hip higher than the other while I was lying on the mat. Almost instinctually I took a mental walk around my pelvis, exercises Dr. Kent describes in her book on p. 49 “Clarifying the Energy of Your Bowl” and p. 36-39 “The Pelvic Bowl: the Root Place”. Since I had been practicing these meditations more regularly it took just a moment, and the instructor immediately noticed, and said, “oh wait, you’re fine, they’re aligned". The words, “I’ve been doing these Pelvic Bowl Mediations” came out of my mouth. And so I realized how the Wild Feminine was expressing itself in my Pilates work.
I started including these short, guided meditations of walking around the pelvic bowl and breathing into the bones of the pelvis into my Pilates classes. The concepts of directing the breath intentionally came from my Yoga and Yamuna Body Rolling practices. The results were nothing short of miraculous. Rather than having to use movements or exercises to align the pelvis, the bones magically aligned. We ended classes resting in our pelvic bowls. My experience of that energy that is calm, slower than the pace of life, and clarified.
Dr. Kent also addresses the commonly used Pelvic Floor exercises called “Kegels”. When I read her commentary on the Kegel on p. 34 and 35 of the Wild Feminine, I thought, “Every woman has to know this”. She writes, “Ideally, the muscles are engaging in each quadrant of her pelvic bowl, but typically only part of the pelvic floor is activated. Muscle fibers holding tension and pain (and diminished energy) will have much less movement, or squeezing action, during a Kegel." Dr. Kent goes on later in her book to describe how to self administer internal pelvic massage or vaginal massage as the solution for these tension patterns, relieving them so that all of the fibers of the pelvic floor fire optimally.
If you have ever been to a Pilates class, you will quickly realize some Pilates instructors are obsessed with the Pelvic Floor muscles. Why? Because the Pelvic Floor Muscles are the base of your core.
In my previous article “Take it Easy”, I wrote about how the diaphragm muscle on the inside of the rib cage is the top of the core. In a long diaphragmatic breath, you should feel pressure, sensation or stimulation at the base of your pelvis, because the muscle tissue is connected by means of the abdominal muscles. My students often hear me say, “Breathe all the way down your spine into your pelvis". So technically speaking you can start to stimulate your pelvic floor muscles by exaggerating your long slow breathing. I like to imagine a balloon in the space between my ribs and my hips. On the inhale breath, the balloon inflates down the spine into the pelvis, and on the exhale breath, the balloon empties up towards the ribs. On a long slow inhale breath you can visualize your pelvic floor muscles expand or stretch, and on the exhale visualize the pelvic floor muscles soften or return to resting length, which can also translate as a contraction.
But what happens if you feel nothing? If you’re not sure you’re doing it right? Or you have pain or discomfort in your pelvic floor muscles? All of these questions are normal and common for women.
Where are the Pelvic Floor Muscles? If you visualize your pelvis, you have a right pelvic bone and a left pelvic bone. When you place your hands on your “hips”, the top part of your pelvis is called the Iliac crest or the Ilium. In the back there is your Sacrum, a heart shaped bone at the back of your pelvis. The Sacrum is part of the spine and connects to the tailbone, known as the Coccyx, or the tip of your spine. In the front of the pelvis are your pubic bones where the right and left pelvic bones meet with a small piece of cartilage in between the pubic bones. At the base of your pelvis are your sitting bones or Ischium. If you rock back on forth while seated you can feel those sitting bones known anatomically as your Ischium.
Thinking about the bones at the base of the pelvis, in the front are your pubic bones, in back is your tailbone or Coccyx, and on the right and left are your sitting bones or Ischium. The base of the pelvis makes a diamond. If you put your hands together to form a diamond with your pointer fingers touching, and your thumbs touching, you can imagine the pointer fingers are the pubic bones, the thumbs are the Coccyx, and your hands are the Ischium. The Pelvic Floor Muscles are on the inside of this diamond, connecting these four bones, including some attachments to the Sacrum.
The pelvic floor muscles are the base of the core. When taking long deep breaths, if you gently engage, contract or lift your pelvic floor muscles (using 5% effort), your deep abdominals, transversus abdominus, should naturally wrap around your waist like a wide belt from your ribs to your hips. “The transversus abdominus (TVA), mutifidus, and pelvic floor muscles are on the same neurological loop." (p. 17 Paul Chek, Scientific Core Conditioning) If you’re noticing that while you breathe deeply and gently lift your pelvic floor that your abs don’t respond, scheduling an appointment with an exercise professional that understands core assessment is recommended.
The Pelvic Floor muscles are related to topics such as incontinence, prolapse, sensation during sex, pregnancy, giving birth, recovering from child birth, and core strength. Knowing where your pelvic floor muscles are, how to activate them, and how to release them is an act of good self-care. Understanding what the sensations mean psycho-spiritually takes refinement, time, and the willingness to get to know yourself, revealing your inner wisdom. Collectively a huge shift is happening as women do this work. The rise of the Sacred Feminine.
Do you have questions about your pelvic floor? Getting together with a Pilates instructor, Yoga Instructor or Physical Therapist that can have an honest discussion with you, give you appropriate treatment, and can give you exercises to heighten your awareness of your pelvic floor will change your world, physically, emotionally, and energetically.
If you have questions about this article or want to schedule an appointment at Lake Pilates, please contact me at [email protected]
For more information about Dr. Tami Lynn Kent check out wildfeminine.com
Dr. Kent is a women’s health physical therapist, founder of Holistic Pelvic CareTM for women, and author of the books Wild Feminine: Finding Power Spirit & Joy in the Female Body, Wild Creative, and Mothering from your Center.
Tami Lynn Kent, Wild Feminine: Finding Power Spirit & Joy in the Female Body, 2011, New York, NY Atria Books, Hillsboro, OR Beyond Words, p. 34, 35, 36, 39, 49
Paul Chek, Scientific Core Conditioning Correspondence Course, 1992-2005, Vista CA 92801, USA, chekinstitute.com, p.17
Pelvis Image by BruceBlaus. Blausen.com staff (2014). "Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014". WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27796968
Pelvic Floor Muscles by Henry Vandyke Carter - Henry Gray (1918) Anatomy of the Human Body (See "Book" section below)Bartleby.com: Gray's Anatomy, Plate 408, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=531382
Copyright Hawa Robin Cahn 2017