Written by Karen Bruno, PT
Mindfulness is like that—it is the miracle which we can call back in a flash our dispersed mind and restore it to wholeness so that we can live each minute of life.
Mindfulness meditation is a practice to focus your attention on your moment to moment experience and to accept the present moment without judgment.
This technique draws you back to your center by bringing into the present moment the fragmented aspects of your mind-those thoughts that drift into the past and/or thoughts, fears and worries about the future. With non-judgemental awareness, these thoughts are free to come and go without gripping you and further dragging you down, resulting in a more alert, attentive and relaxed state of being.
The benefits of Mindfulness Meditation are bountiful. Mindfulness meditation is not considered a relaxation practice, however, you may have the experience of relaxation as a beneficial side effect. Please refer to the January 2018 e-newsletter for the list of benefits of meditation.
Some Basics of Mindfulness Meditation
To be done 20-30 minutes once or twice daily.
Sit in a comfortable position with your spine supported, head erect and feet flat on the floor.
Breaking it down
If you only have a few minutes, after focusing your attention on your breath to quiet your mind, you can choose one category, such as focusing on body sensations, or thoughts or sounds. Remember to be patient, loving, kind, forgiving and gentle with yourself. Even a few minutes of practice is a step in the right direction.
Meditation begins with the non-judgmental observation of life from moment to moment. When you find that the mind is being judgmental, for example, pushing away things it doesn’t like, simply observe that this is occurring. Meditation is an effortless and choiceless awareness of the totality of life expressing itself with and around you in every and any moment. It is a state of being, not an activity. So it is not something to do, rather it is allowing yourself to just be. THIS IS NOT A TUNING OUT PROCESS. Rather it is being fully present with a larger perspective grounded in a sense of being.
Can I do a crunch?
Written by Bryn Zolty, PT
If I just had a baby can I return to running? I’m leaking - can I do exercise that involves jumping? My doctor says I have a prolapse - can I lift weights at the gym? As pelvic physical therapists, we hear these questions every day. It is very common to wonder if after having a baby, a surgery, or if you have pain in the pelvis, if it is okay to engage in activities that can push pressure down into the pelvis.
While more research is needed to better answer these questions, there are a couple of studies available that have measured the pressure in the vagina with functional tasks, yoga poses, and other exercises in attempts to answer these questions. Here is a little of what they found with a group of women ranging in age from 20-51:
These numbers can surprise people. How can a crunch be so bad if the average pressure is 23.8 and a normal daily occurrence like coughing is 98? As a therapist, my focus is drawn to the large ranges within each activity. What is the woman doing differently to crunch at a pressure of 8 compared to the woman at a 75?
As therapists we evaluate how you move and conduct each of these activities. As pelvic physical therapists we look closer at your movement, alignment, breathing, coordination, and muscle tone in relation to the pelvis. All these factors play a role in the pressure your body places on the pelvic floor. This pressure is known as the intra-abdominal pressure. This is how one woman can have very low pressure on her pelvic floor while another woman has high pressure during the same activity. The key is how they complete the task.
Back to the question, can I do a crunch? Can I return to strenuous exercise? Our goal is to teach you how to do movements or activities properly while minimizing the negative impact on the pelvic muscles. A pelvic physical therapist’s job is to evaluate the movement or activity that gives you pain or makes you leak and improve it.
How do we do this? Let’s take a squat for example. If a patient comes in because she leaks urine while squatting, we would explore all the possibilities.
After having babies, surgeries, or injuries our bodies change. Some of these changes can lead to incontinence or pain. A pelvic physical therapist is a great clinician to discuss these changes along with your goals for fitness or everyday activities. Whether it’s cueing on alignment or movement strategies, breathing, releasing or strengthening, it is our goal to help you reach yours.
From the Glottis to the Pelvic Floor: Making Clinical Connections. Julie Wiebe, PT, MPT,BSc, and Susan Clinton, PT,DScPT,OCS,WCS,FAAOMPT.
Cobb WS, Burns JM,Kercher KW, Matthews BD, Norton HJ,Heniford BT. Normal Intra-abdominal Pressure in Healthy Adults. 2005; Journal of Surgical Research 2005; (129):231-235.
O’Dell KK, Morse AN,Crawford SL, Howard A. Vaginal Pressure during lifting, floor exercises, jogging, and use of hydraulic exercise machines. International Urogyneocology Journal, 2007;18: 1481-1489.