I spent the last 5 days learning about this mystifying part of the body with 30 other women.
First, we cleared the air by sharing the history of our pelvises:
A room full of abortions, miscarriages, infertility issues, prolonged labors, sexual abuse, mistreatment by doctors, prolapses, bowel and urinary issues. This relatively small part of our body held a great amount of collective trauma. Tears shed and hugs were given.
Then we started, as we always start yoga: with the breath. Another woman watched my breath move through my body: reversed breathing. Years of anxiety have changed the way I breathe. Unconsciously, I pull in my stomach on the inhale and relax the stomach on the exhale. Halting the very necessary flow of breath into the pelvis.
I broke down. Tears flowed for the second time. How could I, the yoga teacher that always asks my students to soften their bellies, encourages self-compassion, breaths softly with my preschoolers when they are crying or panicking, and teaches big belly breaths all the time… how could I be still be reverse breathing after all these years?
My wounds are much deeper and more complex than I ever thought. They have sneakily nestled into my body as habitual patterns hidden in my pelvis and breath. The pelvic floor must move with the breathing diaphragm, rising and falling in beautiful synchronicity to massage the internal organs, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, and so much more.
Breathe. Deep, slow inhales. Even longer exhales.
If at any moment you are unsure of how you feel, maybe you’re overwhelmed or sad or angry, or feel as though something is off, check your breath. It acts as the canary in a the coal mine, the first indication that there is a dysfunction in the bodymind. Pause. Take your left hand to your heart, right hand to your low belly. Slow breath in. Feel the low belly rise, then the low ribs, then the chest. Deflate the low belly, low ribs, chest. Repeat 5 more times.
How do you feel? You don’t have to name the sensations, but hold that feeling in your mind as a reminder. And repeat at any moment, any time, any place.
What’s your pelvis’ story?
How do you breathe?