Kegel Exercises for Women | Level 3
Laura: Welcome everyone, my name is Laura and this is Level 3 of the Femme Flexor Yoga Series. We'll start in an easy seated position. You may need a block for practicing but it isn't necessary; just for a little support, just in case. Then coming down to your seat and finding a long spine, maybe lowering the gaze and take a moment to tune into your body into your breath.
We'll do the pelvic floor exercises using the kapalbhati breath for this class. If you are pregnant or have low blood pressure, I do recommend instead using the ujjayi breath. The ujjayi breath is done by softly constricting the back of your throat and then inhaling through the nose, exhaling constricting as well as you exhale drawing the pelvic floor up. Feel free to continue with that breath if it feels comfortable for you. If you'd like something more fiery, I'll show you how to do the kapalbhati breath. For the kapalbhati, the inhalation is relaxed but the exhalation is forced so this forced contraction helps to engage the pelvic floor.
This breath would be really good if you suffer from incontinence, bladder issues, or any kind of leakage. Again, do the ujjayi breath if this doesn't feel right in your body. I'll demonstrate it first. We'll take a nice inhalation through the nose relaxing everything, and then on the exhalation, it's a little constriction and it shoots out, relaxing the belly on the inhalation. Feel free to play with the speed. You can take this a little faster if you'd like. We’ll do this for about 20 more seconds. We’ll be engaging that pelvic floor on the exhalations. One more and relax.
Place your hands behind you and uncross your legs in front of you bringing your feet out to either side in a wide stance, and begin to windshield wipe your legs side to side; exhaling as you go down to one side engaging the pelvic floor and then inhaling coming back to center, relax, exhale over the other way inhale back to the center. Exhale over and then find your own pace for this engaging on the exhalation. This is a great exercise if you find that you have a little bit of tightness in your hips. Tight hips are connected to the pelvic floor of course. This is a nice, gentle opening up of the hips. One more time the other way, and then coming back to the center.
Make your way into a tabletop position, wrists tucked underneath of your shoulders, knees underneath of your hips. We can stay here in this position if this feels good for you, however, if you'd like a little bit more of a challenge, start to lift your knees up and come into a downward dog position, spreading the fingertips out wide, spreading the feet out wide, pressing into your mat, lifting the hips up and back. Imagine you're trying to make a triangle with the ground.
This is a great resting position for the pelvis as it's inverted and it helps to shift all the organs and the pelvic floor back into place. If this is a little bit too much for you to hold for breathing techniques, you can always come down onto your forearms into the dolphin position or back into the table. On the exhalation begin to draw the femme flexor. Inhale, relax, exhale drawing that femme flexor up, and inhale, relax. Exhale, engage, just a gentle squeezing, pulling in, inhale, relax. Exhale, engage and then shift the gaze look between your hands, step or hop to the front of your mat inhaling halfway up finding length through the spine and then exhale forward fold generous bend in the knees if you need it. Inhale coming all the way up bringing the arms up overhead, and then exhale hands down by your side engaging your pelvic floor.
We’ll go through those half sun salutations a few more times, inhaling the arms up, finding length through the spine as you do so, exhale the arms down, and engage drawing the femme flexor up inhale, arms up, relax. Exhale, engage, and going through this movement a few more times at your own pace. One more Half-Sun-Salutation wherever you are inhaling the arms up relaxing, exhale the arms down drawing the pelvic floor up. Then we'll bring both hands behind our head, elbows out wide opening up through the chest. Take an inhalation here and on the exhalation, start to open up towards the right. Inhale back to the center, exhale over to the left, engaging the pelvic floor as you do. This movement doesn't need to be big, it can be very subtle. We're just trying to work the thoracic spine finding some length, finding more space through the rib cage. One more time each way.
Returning to centre, release the arms down to your side, inhale the arms up relaxing, and then swan dive down exhale, engage the pelvic floor forward fold. Inhale up for a halfway lift finding length through the spine incisions and then exhale, forward fold again adding a soft bend if you'd like. Then start to bend into your knees even more and find yourself on the ground once again. We’ll come to meet in a neutral tabletop position, stacking the shoulders over the wrists, the pelvis over the knees. We’ll inhale up for cow, dropping the belly, tilting the chin up, and then exhale under for cat curling the tailbone in tucking the chin and engaging the pelvic floor. We'll go through this a few times following your own rhythm. Make sure to relax on the inhalations and engage on the exhalations. One more time.
Then find yourself in a neutral tabletop position. Tuck all your toes under and send your hips back for the child's pose. Find a good stretch through the feet here. The fascia and the center of the foot is connected to the pelvic floor, the nerves are innervated all the way up from the foot to the pelvic floor so engaging the feet is very important for pelvic floor health. Take a few breaths here drawing the femme flexor up on the exhalations. If tucking your toes under in the child's pose doesn't feel good for you, you can always do this from a kneeling position. Then releasing the engagement, we can come to meet an easy seat if you'd like and taking a moment to find a long spine.
On your next inhalation, we're going to bring our shoulders up towards our ears as much as you can, and then exhale, release. Do that two more times inhaling up, exhale, release, and coming back to a normal breath. Thank you so much for joining me today for Level 3 of the Femme Flexor level yoga series, Namaste.