Have you held true to your resolutions this year? Fallen off the wagon yet? If you are still going strong, congratulations! But nearly a fortnight into 2016 and it is quite possible, despite our best intentions, our dedication is wavering. Come back – without judgement.
Each year brings a fresh start, but often we lose motivation and it is easy to pile on the negative self-talk. Instead, refocus and come back by cultivating purity or Sauca. Think of purity as the ultimate act of love and care. We cannot love others as we should if we do not treat ourselves with kindness. Begin by cleaning your own cluttered mind with compassion.
Being deliberate about the words you choose to utter, especially the ones heard only in your head. Choose with a kind heart. Act as though all can hear you. Commit to treating your body well. Think of it as a temple, after all it is our only true home. Without harshness, choose more rest, over less. Choose mostly healthy food and less caffeine and alcohol. Move more.
Finally, allow for stillness in your day. Begin small and work from the intention of simply baring witness to your thoughts. Let go of manipulating them. Allow yourself to watch with curiosity. Eventually, the space you create in your mind, heart, and body will grow.
It is hard to remember our true selves – our purity – if we do not know who we are and honor ourselves with generosity and compassion. Make a practice of getting to know yourself, your pure self. Bare witness to who you are in the good times, in the mundane moments, when you are stressed and anxious, and in times of tragedy.
When we practice Sauca or purity, our resolutions become easier to maintain. We have purity of purpose. Our goals are in line with our intentions for being. Jumping back on the wagon and moving in the direction we desire becomes natural.
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles which create a hammock of sorts connecting to each hip bone, sacrum and coccyx (tail bone). It serves to support our internal organs and plays a role in the function or dysfunction of our posture, continence, sexual function, fertility and much more.
Many of us have experienced temporary incontinence when we have coughed, sneezed or laughed too hard. If you have had a baby, you are familiar with an often shocking, although usually temporary loss of pelvic floor control and the resulting incontinence. Strengthening pelvic floor muscles is often recommended to help prevent or treat incontinence.
Prolapse, or the dropping of pelvic organs can occur in some women often due to weakened pelvic floor muscles. While genetic factors can explain some cases, others factors including lack of muscle strength also contribute.
Should we strengthen or release the pelvic floor? Kegel exercises are often recommended to strengthen the pelvic muscles can help protect against incontinence and prolapse. It is worth noting however, having ‘weakness’ in your pelvic muscles can also be the result of too much clenching and tightness. Learning to lengthen and release these muscles is equally important.
Ground Your Yoga and Meditation Practices
Practicing Mula Bandha or root lock, the upward lift of the pelvic muscles, when engaged in our yoga practice has the benefit of stabilizing the pelvis and giving us a sense of grounding. Explore Mula Bandha throughout your asana and meditation practices.
Improve Your Sex Life
Both strengthening and learning to control the pelvic floor has been shown to improve sensation and enjoyment of sexual intercourse for both men and women. In addition, research shows pelvic strengthening can aid in the treatment of ED in men.
Aid Relaxation and Stress Reduction
When we think of our pelvic floor, we often think about the lack of engagement or strength, however we often unconsciously over-engage and tense our pelvic floor muscles. This can lead to tension and stress throughout the body and mind, poor posture and even painful intercourse. In yoga it is believed we hold our stress, tension, emotions, fear and anxiety in the pelvic region or ‘root’ of our body. Developing an awareness of our pelvic floor muscles through yoga, meditation and exercise can have wonderful benefitsin terms of our ability to relax both physically and mentally.