In much of Hindu tradition, it is the coiled serpent of
, waiting to be awakenedinto energy. In Chinese culture, the pelvic floor is the home of
, the life energy that must flowfreely in our bodies in order for us to remain healthy. In Japanese martial arts, it is the
, thevital center of the self—located just three fingers below the navel and three fingers inwardtoward the spine. The recognition of this vital life force is at the heart of spiritual practice inthese traditions, and it is the focus of the physical exercises that invariably accompany such practices.Western scientific research confirms that a strong and healthy pelvic floor at the core isessential to overall health and fitness. It’s critical to feeling good. It’s key to that sense of physical vigor that is so important to your sense of well-being.
The Muscles of the Pelvic Floor
Experts in evolution theorize that the pelvic floor musculature once controlled the tails of our ape-like ancestors, before hands proved to be more effective. Eventually, the use of handsnaturally selected a new branch of evolutionary development. In that new branch, whicheventually became us, the tails went away, but the muscles remained. Now, however, instead of controlling wagging and hanging from trees, the muscles took on the function of helping tosupport the body’s core. So today, the evolved pelvic floor serves three vital purposes:
It upholds and cushions the organs within the pelvis and lower abdomen—urinaryorgans, digestive organs, reproductive organs;
It controls continence by signaling elimination urges to the bladder and bowel and byopening and closing the urethra and anal canals to allow voiding;