I find this a really helpful way of experiencing the area of soft tissue we commonly call the “pelvic floor”. Once you can feel and sense this diamond shape area muscle you can work with both contractions and relaxations to keep the area toned.
What’s the best pose for feeling my diamond?
Personally, my favourite pose for feeling the pelvic diamond is to be on forearms (elbows) and knees, so my head is lower than my pelvis and I can imagine I have a tail that I am slightly sticking in the air (we prepped for this in the previous article on pelvic scoops). In the pose, the diamond is lifted and open, there is less internal pressure from the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, rectum) and the trampled on pelvic floor is suddenly transformed into a fabulous pelvic kite, flying high in the sky! Just this shift in perspective is enough to feel you’ve done some great pelvic exercise.
- Stay in this pose for 2-3 minutes or as long as you can just feeling this lovely open diamond shape and allowing the pelvic floor muscles to open and gently stretch.
- Especially if you have been sitting a lot or tucking your pelvis as a postural habit this is likely to feel delicious and will be doing you good.
- Breathe freely and easily and only move on to the toning exercises below when you feel really connected with this area and have good sensations here.
Tip: bring your thumbs and finger tips together to form a diamond with your hands that you can look at and help you visualise the diamond in your pelvis.
Weird fact: the diamond you make with your fingers is the same size as your pelvic diamond!
How is my pelvic floor like a diamond?
You may want to do some exploring here on your own body to find the four bony structures that form the corners of your pelvic diamond.
Here is a rough diagram I drew by sitting on an A4 piece of paper and marking the four bony landmarks and approximate locations of the urethra, vagina and anus.
To make your own pelvic map grab yourself a sheet of A4 and get hunting for these four bony structures.
- the symphesis pubis (pubic bones) – low down in the front of the pelvis
- the coccyx or tailbone – this is the very bottom of the spine, low down in the back of the pelvis (you need to feel right down in between your cheeks to find the end!
- the two ischial tuberosities (sitting bones)
The pelvic floor muscles connect to these four bony landmarks in a lovely diamond kite formation.
How do I tone my pelvic floor in pregnancy?
Once you can easily sense the diamond kite of the pelvis and its four bony corners you can move on to these exercises. Synchronising the exercises with your breath makes a huge difference to how effective they are so take time to get comfortable in the posture above and get in tune with your breathing.
To prepare the pelvic floor to open and stretch during birth I suggest you synchronise the relaxation of the pelvic floor with your exhalation. This also helps to connect with a feeling of ‘bearing down’ or ‘breathing down the baby’. Go ahead and use a noisy breath like a sigh or a hum – the relaxation in the throat also helps the pelvic floor muscles to relax (if you’ve ever coughed and had a little leak you will understand intimately the connection between the throat and pelvic floor.
- As you inhale, could you imagine bringing your two sit bones closer together? As you exhale, relax completely and let your pelvic diamond kite open and widen. Repeat this 3-4 times or until you feel you’ve had enough.
- As you inhale, could you imagine bringing your tailbone and pubic bones closer together? As you exhale, relax completely and let your pelvic diamond kite open and widen. Repeat this 3-4 times or until you feel you’ve had enough.
- Could you do 1. and 2. both together at the same time? Again, let the feeling of contraction or tightening happen with the inhale, and then completely relax on the exhale.
There will be no external movement when you do these exercises – its all internal – from the outside no one should be able to tell what you are doing. It may take some time to feel the uplift so be patient and just keep coming back to the pose and checking in every now and again. Once you feel confident you can do these exercises in any position – standing, seated, all fours and lying down.
Postnatally, we will use the same exercises but reverse the breathing pattern.