Exercises to promote awareness, flexibility and strength of the pelvic floor
* Sit on a hard surface and make sure you are sitting on your sit bones or ischial tuberosities. Find a neutral pelvis by gently rocking the pelvis back and forth and side to side. Once you have found neutral, inhale through your nose and feel the body expand to breathe into the lateral ribcage, back and pelvic floor (downward). Inspiratory diaphragm also moves downward as you inhale. As you exhale on a "hum" feel and encourage the pelvic floor to move up and inward, toward your head. Release pelvic floor at the end of the utterance. Your breath should return automatically. Repeat.
- * Lean forward with your elbows on your knees and repeat the inhalation/exhalation exercise. Feel the deeper
course of the inspiratory diaphragm and the pelvic floor expansion in this position and the upward and inward motion of the pelvic floor on the exhalation/ hum. Repeat with different h-syllables, e.g., /ha/, /he/, /hi/, /ho/, /hu/.
- * Move into child's pose making sure you are not tucking your pelvis first before you
stretch your torso forward and away from your hips. Inhale and exhale, noticing your
breath and with an increased awareness of the pelvic floor. Perform a lift followed by a release of the pelvic floor muscles. Repeat 10 times. This is an agility exercises and will help you have more control of engaging and releasing PFM.
- * While in child's pose, transition to lifting the pelvic floor and sustaining that lift. Increase progressively, releasing the pelvic floor musculature for equal counts after each lift/sustain. Work up to 10 counts each of lift/sustain and release. This is an endurance exercise and will translate to the pelvic floor musculature strengthening. A strong pelvic floor can engage and support phonation through a long spoken or sung phrase easily. E.g., lift 1, release 1; lift 12, release 12; lift 123, release 123, etc.
* Repeat the process with your favorite sung vowels.
* Inhale and on your exhale slowly stand. Feet stay hip distance apart and pelvis restores to neutral as your body straightens. Release your knees as you inhale and go into a feet parallel plié. Inspiratory and pelvic diaphragms move downward. Lift pelvic floor upward as you exhale and slowly stand. Couple this with sustained speech or singing in place of exhaling air.
The role of the pelvic floor: considerations in voice production
* The inspiratory diaphragm works in a symbiotic, phase-locked relationship with the
pelvic floor (pelvic diaphragm).
* As the inspiratory diaphragm courses downward during inhalation, so does the pelvic
floor and the larynx
* If the pelvic floor is not released, it compromises the inhalation by
limiting the course of the inspiratory diaphragm
* The pelvic floor descends and expands as the vocal folds open during inhalation
- * The inspiratory diaphragm works in a symbiotic, phase-locked relationship with the pelvic floor (pelvic diaphragm).
* The pelvic floor and transverse abdominis co-contract during forced expiration/phonation.
* Inhalation expansion ends at pelvic floor and support for forced exhalation and phonation begins at pelvic floor.
- * Globally, alignment of the body is impacted by the pelvis
- * The jaw mimics the pelvis; too much tension in the jaw can obstruct the pelvic floor
- * Pelvic floor, inspiratory diaphragm, 1st rib, glottis and soft palate need to be stacked
above one another in alignment
- * Because of the central position of the pelvis, small shifts can result in big changes, e.g., a
big twist in the neck
- * Pelvic floor supports almost every movement we make
- * Knee and feet movements are connected to pelvic floor; if the pelvic floor is balanced, so then are the feet
- * Tension in the upper body can obstruct pelvic floor function
- * A tight pelvic floor can lead to constipation; vice versa
- * A weak pelvic floor can lead to urogenital dysfunction
- * Glottic insufficiency can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction
- * Of note, hormone receptors are identical in larynx and urogenital region (Abitbol)
- * Wearing high heels can obstruct pelvic floor function
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