I have been asked once again for my commentary, this time on a pelvic floor exercise created by Judith Aston, dancer turned movement expert and exercise coach. (http://www.astonkinetics.com/blog) My response is that the exercise is nothing but a glorified kegel, and her basic concepts mainstream. Judith has a lovely, lithe dancer’s body, but from the Whole Woman perspective her posture and movement concepts are very conventional and, shall we say, superficial. By that I mean she uses phrases like “helps with alignment of the trunk” instead of helping us understand exactly how and why.
She seems to understand that a contracted belly is not good for prolapse, yet it is so interesting to watch how she simply denies she is doing exactly that. As she raises her head and knees, and tilts her pelvis back, she is certainly contracting her abdominal wall – in plain sight! In order for the pelvis to tilt backward, the abdominal wall must pull it back by contracting. She can pat her tummy and tell us, “See, I’m keeping my belly soft”, because her skin has loosened with the backward rotation of her pelvis. However, her muscles are tight. This is simple biomechanics, yet people like Aston keep the mystique going by literally fooling us with doublespeak.
The digging in with her fingertips and lifting her bladder will have no effect on prolapse. Our bipedal body develops while moving under the forces of gravity. Importantly, the prolapsed bladder must move forward, not up. This is the danger of coming from a conventional framework. Not surprisingly, her body reveals the very structural problems that lead to prolapse and incontinence.
Judith has spent her whole life cultivating a small ‘inner corset’ at her midriff. She often wears wide belts just under her breasts. When that area is chronically pulled in, you have no choice but to become a chest breather, which is the opposite of natural breathing. Now, with every in-breath intraabdominal pressure is pushing the pelvic organs toward the outlet instead of pinning them into position at the front of the body.
Hint: Look how large and rounded her lower belly is.
This is a classic prolapse case, which we see time and again. Pelvic organ prolapse is not just about the pelvic organs. In many cases the abdominal organs have been pushed down, and in turn have pushed the pelvic organs back from the lower abdominal wall. I would be very surprised if she weren’t symptomatic.
The midriff cannot chronically be held in without developing kyphosis (curvature in the upper back) over time. Judith has staved it off for a long time through all her lengthening work, but you can see that her head is starting to fall in front of her body, which will continue as she ages.
Aston is very beautiful, charismatic, and has some good ideas. It is unfortunate however, that she is teaching women about pelvic health.