As I travel around sharing “Explore Your Pelvic Floor and More” Yoga and Yoga Therapy courses, I emphasize the importance of adequate training and education of pelvic floor muscle (PFM) engagement with proper synergistic timing with other muscle groups with awareness, movement and breath.
I received a great question from a yoga therapist at the International Association of Yoga Therapists annual Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research where I was presenting this workshop. One of the participants asked, “how does a yoga therapist know if the student is properly engaging the pelvic floor muscles?” The simple answer to this question is, unfortunately you don’t. Accurate measurement of PFM function and strength is difficult, even with the current tools of measurement we have such as direct skilled manual palpation or use of clinical observation skills with measuring devices such as ultrasound, EMG recordings, or MRI’s (Bo et al, 2005). However, these methods are not within the scope of practise of a yoga therapist or yoga teacher.
Additionally, over 30% of women do not engage their PFMs correctly even after their first consultation of one on one training (WHO, 2002). Even if you think you are providing proper PFM engagement cueing in your classes, you really have no way of knowing if every student is engaging correctly. Furthermore, some evidence-based treatment guidelines advise against teaching a PFM contraction for certain conditions. I further expand on this in my courses.
But for now, we can address this original question if we re-phrase it:
“how can a yoga therapist help a student optimize the probability of an effective PFM engagement?”
Here are 9 ways: Read more