Posted on November 22, 2010 by Suzie Heumann
Today’s PC muscle exercises, or Kegel exercises, are not the ones your mother might have done. Oh no, they’ve been upgraded a whole lot so it’s surprising that they aren’t considered one of the “yogas”. The truth is that they are a type of yoga. Mindfulness, along with these physical exercises, was taught by many ancient traditions for both men and women.
Dashing off a couple of squeezes here and there is not what I’m talking about. Learning and practicing the correct way to do Kegel exercises isn’t hard but it is important to do them right for the desired physical benefits. There are many reasons to do these little gems of internal exercise. They radically improve arousal, blood flow to the pelvic region, strength of grip of the phallus (penis) during intercourse, bladder control, amount of orgasm and strength of orgasm, lasting longer, stronger erections, prostate health, thickness of pelvic floor muscles, health of internal organs and more. I recently had to have a sonogram of my lower abdomen and the doctor exclaimed, with some excitement, that my uterus looked like that of a 35 year old. I’m quite a bit older than that, and have had three grown children too, but I attribute this to years of doing my Kegels.
I began doing Kegels many years ago because I wanted to tighten my muscles for more “feeling” during sex. Then I began to get into the more subtle facets of using those built-up muscles to explore the “courtesan” in me. Many stories exist of women so highly trained that they could grip a man’s phallus and not let go until they chose to. The Kama Sutra lists the sex technique Vadavaka as “The Mare’s Trick” and a skilled woman could rhythmically and consciously massage and “milk” with her pelvic muscles. What the literature doesn’t tell is that by learning and enabling this set of muscles the body core becomes more stable and healthy.
However, the yoga part has to do with the awareness and mindfulness that more advanced practices bring. Learning to do PC muscle exercises correctly is the first step to learning how to employ “bandhas” during regular yoga practice or even breathwork (pranayama) and meditation. By locking the pelvic muscles, and visualizing the upward movement of energy throughout the inner body, the topography of the interior organs can be felt and explored. This is called proprioception. Proprioception – from Latin proprius, meaning “one’s own”, and perception – one of the human senses. This term is often referred to only for outer limbs but it pertains to our inner topography as well. When we pay attention we can begin to feel our bladders, uteruses, prostate glands, cervixes, many of our organs and other soft tissues. This, in turn, aids visualization and potential healing.
In studies with athletes, scientists have discovered that they can improve the muscle strength and performance skills of the athletes by up to 15 percent when they use visualization to imagine their muscles growing or their game improving. This is also the case with learning the relaxation techniques that go with mastering ejaculation control. This pertains to pelvic muscles too. Evidence is growing that we create our own realities by our thoughts and actions, at least to some degree. We can take advantage of this fact to enhance the experiences of our lives.
Here we are on earth. We have a life that we have created to the best of our abilities. Yet both learning new “things” and refining what we already know are very important aspects to a cultivated life. This is what mindfulness is and what further refinement is when we are constantly improving our ability to “know” our selves. It is always interesting to me that many people believe that sex is not a worthy path to knowledge. Better put, that it is something that should only be spontaneous and free. That can be true some of the time but when we focus our minds, bodies, and spirits on sex, the sky can be the limits on how we do it and what outrageous consequences can come from it. Studied and practiced, those consequences can help integrate the mind and the body far more thoroughly.
Jivamukti founder David Life says it very well in this quote on YogaJournal.com: “Through gradual refinement, mula bandha becomes less muscular and more subtle, energetic, and etheric. This movement from outside to inside, from mundane to rarefied, from unconsciousness to enlightenment, is the basic pattern of transcendental yogic awakening. On an energetic level, mula bandha allows us to feel, restrain, and then direct our energies toward enlightenment. Finally, when practicing mula bandha on the highest level, the yogi sees the Divine in all with equanimity and detachment.”
by Suzie Heumann 22/11/10