This episode of Just Jana is all about demystifying the dirty little secret that no one (except for Jana) seems to want to talk about: the pelvic floor. For all of the mom bosses who pee when they jump on the trampoline with their kids, deal with painful intercourse, or struggle with chronic back pain, Jana tackles pelvic floor health and shares stories of transformation from dysfunction to function. Through techniques and exercises to connect with and strengthen the pelvic floor, Jana focuses on empowering women to understand our anatomy, and shows how we can, through education, regain our power and control over this vital part of our bodies.
Jana has taught the importance of pelvic floor function at her pilates studio for over a decade for the simple reason that the pelvic floor is a muscle. In the same way that we talk about strengthening the glutes to lift the booty, or getting stronger arms by working our biceps and triceps, we have to talk about strengthening our pelvic floor. Jana argues that there is no need to be bashful about the pelvic floor, because it is simply a part of our anatomy. And when we refuse to acknowledge it, we make it taboo.
From Jana’s research as a pilates instructor and wellness educator, she has discovered that the pelvic floor dysfunction that women live with is often actually a fitness or movement issue. When women are told that this dysfunction can only be overcome through surgery, we become disempowered. Instead, we need to regain that control over our bodies by understanding how to strengthen and connect with our pelvic floor.
Jana’s basic exercises to increase pelvic floor function come down to two simple tricks: sit on a ball and pick up some grapes. The first exercise involves placing an inflatable playground ball (Cooch ball) between your pubic bone and your anus. Sit cross-legged on the ball for a few minutes, breathing deeply through the diaphragm. That’s it.
The second exercise requires a little imagination to connect the brain with the pelvic floor. Pretend that you are picking up grapes with your vagina. Every time you exhale, think about picking up a nice, plump grape. You don’t want to squeeze too hard and squash it, but you want to squeeze hard enough to lift it up. Practice picking up ten grapes a few times a day, whether you are in line at the grocery store, parked at a red light, or watching hockey practice.
It’s time that we acknowledge, take care of, and love our pelvic floor. It’s a super important muscle that has far more use than sex and pee. There’s actually a nerve that runs right through that pelvic floor called the pudendal nerve which can be responsible for basic things like cold feet, shin splints, low back discomfort, and even constipation.
Understanding our pelvic floor allows us to take control of our bodies, be empowered, and improve our quality of life, so we need to pay attention to this muscle just as much as we pay attention to our abs or glutes. And remember, as soon as this podcast is done, you’ve got 10 grapes to pick up.
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