This month I had the opportunity to join a yoga workshop specially designed for pelvic health! The workshop was put on by Casie Danenhauer, DPT at Sarton Physical Therapy in Orange County (quick shout out to my favorite pelvic floor physical therapist, Julie Sarton!)
This yoga for pelvic health workshop was full of great information, including an overview of
basic pelvic anatomy (complete with a musculoskeletal model of the pelvic floor). And not only did we spend time in actual yoga practice, we received specific instruction on various poses that are good for pelvic health. Casie walked us through the details of how to do these poses correctly, and considering pelvic floor conditions such as hypertonic pelvic floor muscles (like me!) and hypotonic pelvic floor muscles (where the muscles are too weak). One specific example that’s worth mentioning is that you shouldn’t listen to your yoga or pilates instructor when she tells you to squeeze and hold everything tight (you may have heard the term “bandha”). If you have hypertonic pelvic floor muscles you should be focusing on relaxing them, not tightening them!
While Casie did an excellent job instructing us on the mechanics of the poses, I especially appreciated her insight in how to get the most out of them holistically. As we practiced each pose, she guided us through imagery for a mind-body connection that truly took the benefits of each pose to a new level. She also focused our attention on specific anatomical changes, like sensing our pelvic floor muscles expanding with each deep inhale. It was also a small enough class that she was able to work with us individually, catering to our specific needs and giving us tips that we can continue to use in our personal practice.
As great as all of that was, I think what I loved most was getting to meet other women interested in pelvic health and hear a little about their own healing journeys. And of course I loved meeting Casie! I am very excited to add her to my pelvic healing network and continue learning from her. Not only is Casie a registered yoga instructor and pelvic floor physical therapist and with her own practice in Santa Monica, she has also lived her own pelvic pain journey. Check out her story here and here. Also, check out her recent blog post on Yoga For Pelvic Health. She describes a couple of key yoga poses in detail so you can get your own yoga for pelvic health lesson!