Enthusiastically Spiritual

Engaging Yoga for Pelvic Floor Health with Leah Wrobel

September 26, 2022 Season 2 Episode 58
Enthusiastically Spiritual
Engaging Yoga for Pelvic Floor Health with Leah Wrobel
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Show Notes Transcript

Incontinence happens from childbirth, PTSD, anxiety, sexual trauma, and many other hard to discuss parts of our lives. This pelvic floor issue happens to both men and women and my guest today is on a mission to help the masses heal and strengthen their pelvic floor area.

For myself being enthusiastic about the spiritual part of my life is loving all parts of me. It is about integrating the mind, body and spirit into balance. I have found that my physical body helps me create a container for my mind and spirit and that is why taking care of the physical body is so important.

In this episode I have invited a friend from years ago who has created a powerful path of healing through yoga, breath work and mindfulness.  

Leah Wrobel she been teaching yoga since 2003, leading courses, workshops and retreats in Israel, France, Denmark and across the United States. In addition to being a professional dancer in her past, she is trained in various styles of yoga and other modalities such as Pilates, Somatic Movement and Feldenkrais. She holds a yoga certification in Kripalu Yoga, an advanced certification in Vinana Yoga, is a certified Prenatal Yoga teacher and certified Pelvis Fascia Trainer in the Franklin Method. Leah holds an MA from Aarhus University in the field of Religious Studies. She is the author of the book Yoga for Pelvic Floor Health: A Whole-Body Approach to Strengthening & Healing.

Insights to add to your spiritual toolbox from this episode:

1. Yoga, Breath Work, & Mindfulness
 
2. Stress incontinence

3. Reconnect to the whole body

4. Importance of the pelvic region

5. Learning from others around you

6. Anxiety, PTSD, & Sexual Trauma

7. Awareness is key in healing

8. To Know Thyself

9. Radiating pain that starts from the pelvic area

10. Book- Yoga for Pelvic Floor Health- A Whole-Body Approach to Strengthening & Healing


Leah's
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Hi! I’m Teresa. I am a highly trained, certified Spiritual Educator and Consultant who helps people in their personal and spiritual development. My husband Tom and I started TNT SpiritWorks a few years back to do just that- help people along their spiritual journey. We love working with clients – helping them to tap into their inner guidance system on a daily basis, create a healthy balance between thought and feeling – and discover a stronger connection between their inner and outer communication system. Unlock ways to make the spiritual part of life practical. Connect with us at TNT SpiritWorks today!

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the spiritual part of my life is loving all parts of me. It's about integrating the mind, body and spirit into balance. I have found that my physical body helps me create a container for my mind and spirit. And that is why taking care of the physical body is so important. In this episode, I have invited a friend from years ago, who has created a powerful path of healing through yoga, breathwork and mindfulness. Her name is Leah Wrobel. She has been teaching yoga since 2003, leading courses, workshops and retreats in Israel, France, Denmark and across the United States. In addition to being a professional dancer and her past she is trained in various styles of yoga, and other modalities such as Pilates, Somatic Movement and Feldenkrais. She holds a yoga certification in Kripalu Yoga, and advanced certification and banana Yoga is a certified prenatal yoga teacher and certified pelvic fascia trainer in the Franklin method. Lead holds an MA from Oros University hope I said that pronounced that correctly in the field of Religious Studies. She is the author of the book Yoga for Pelvic Floor Health, a Whole Body Approach to Strengthening and Healing and I'm so honored to have her here today. Welcome, Leah. Hi, Teresa. Thank you. That's a lot of training, a lot of yoga. A lot of it is and the real training you know is in the practice and in the on the mat with people. That's how you and I met years ago doing yoga and that was you were just beginning the pelvic floor. I mean, no parts of it, then it wasn't really fully on. So you've come quite a ways with your journey. So I'd love for you to share with what made you focus on the pelvic floor health through your yoga. Yeah, I really do feel in a way and I've heard everyone else say it so it sounds cliche, but it's true that it's kind of it's it found me and demanded my attention and it was simply an issue I had to deal with. I had two kids I had stress incontinence and coughing or laughing or you know, jumping on the trampoline was out for sure. And I've been a yoga teacher then already a decade or so or you know the time kind of blends but I felt a huge gap between my strength, my connectedness to my body, my awareness and then this complete disconnect to the pelvic floor area. And I I really found no answers out there that was satisfying. Even Even when I went to the neurology center and they gave me biofeedback they still recommended a surgery and, and I knew that I was healthy, but it was just a disconnect that I needed to overcome. And I'm just Yeah, no, no answers even from the yoga world that came from which is an extremely in depth practice. vinyasa yoga is such a rich and wise method. There were no direct answers for the pelvic floor. But all the answers were there for how I could find the language. To heal myself. And from the very beginning, I knew I'm going to teach this because I just hated doing the pelvic floor exercises that were prescribed and all I thought was, I wish I had a class that could go in and be guided through this and so from the beginning, I was extremely passionate about teaching and, and helping people find strength. Back then I didn't even use the world the word healing because I thought I need to be stronger. I don't need any healing. And it's it took a journey and it took meeting many students and being in the presence of many people in pain, and us needing to solve together. Research deeply on what happens when there's so much pain in that area and I had to really just learn from my students learn learn, learn, absorb and and then understood that it really is a healing process also for me, so that's, that's a little bit about that, that journey. Well, as I read through your book, which is an absolutely amazing book. I love the fact that you have have a lot of testimonials in there from men and women so this is not just a women problem. This is everyone's got that area. Everyone has the muscles and the income incontinence and and some of the things that you brought up and other people brought up to you as they were going through their healing was you know, pain during intercourse, incontinence, like you mentioned, anxiety, PTSD, sexual trauma, there's a lot of components that are held in that area. And I myself I've had a couple of those things going on throughout my life and and so being able to heal it and what was coming to me as you're mentioning this area is and this is where our root chakra is. Yeah, so that connection to like the energy of the Mother Earth and and then our own energy. So I'd love for you to share a little bit about some of the the testimonials or some of the people who have come to you and some of the ways you've assisted them and they've had amazing healings. Yes. I always am very careful with the wording and don't want to promise any solutions and promise anything because I just I feel that treading very lightly with any promises is the way because it's every person's healing journey. And and so I often will call it pelvic health support, kind of downplaying a little bit. But for some people just awakening with mindfulness with a tent with very intentional precise breathing and exercises that I guide. The moment vitality and awareness floats in the right way. If for some people in a couple of sessions. It's a whole shift in how they feel their body. And then and then for other people's it's a lot longer journey. But what you're saying about the stories that was definitely my intention in the book, there are so many books out there for women and then more specifically for men and I really, really felt the calling to have a book for all people, all ages. And there are there are 19 stories and then my own of different students who gave permission, who have a vast what I wanted to demonstrate is the vast all the aspects, all of us who have a pelvic floor and actually it was just as you were speaking wanted to share a story of an student who doesn't exist share her testimonial isn't here but was someone who more recently I worked with and had hemorrhoids right people who have hemorrhoids don't think I have a pelvic floor dysfunction. But what I what I thought as you were talking is to to explain a little bit if the if it's a repeated issue, and there is nervousness around that area and a need to hold and she was describing how she's at the playground with their kids and she's feeling that something's about to fall out of her and, and that dark shame and embarrassment feeling and needing to run home and never been to able to just be outside in the playground as long as you wanted kit. You can imagine how much tightness, how much gripping those around that area. And so all that tightness in itself if I'm squeezing my glutes or my thighs or just holding my belly very tight and not letting the diaphragm move down and deep breaths to come in it's a it's a spiral right? It's like a circle then I might create new pelvic floor disorders that that were there before and so it's all linked. And an all people you know can fall from a bicycle here in Copenhagen and have an accident that that can trigger a whole world of, of issues. So just talking about it, just talking about it because nobody really does is kind of my real job. That's why we're so excited to have you on today. Yeah, I'm so excited because like you mentioned the word deep shame and embarrassment. You're right. Like we don't go around and say hey, you know, how's your pelvic floor working? Are you tight? We just don't talk about it. But we, but there are there's people that have pain during intercourse and incontinence, a lot of people that's a biggie. And so you know, bringing these forward and talking about it because like I mentioned at the beginning of this intro is that for myself, my physical being is so important and if my physical being is not imbalanced and relaxed and you know and as you beautifully say in your book, you know how to really work the certain areas of the pelvic floor to create balance and to create that really that suspension in that area that you know can be held in then my my soul my spirit can really embrace all of me, and my mind can work beautifully. And so that's so important, but that deep shame and embarrassment that Lena we've got to throw that out the window Leah. You know, it's no it's true because I also in the book I mentioned someone can come to me before class and tell me I have pain around my tailbone or, you know, My knee hurts. I have a wrist issue a neck issue. Nobody will come and say you know I have overly tight pelvic floor certain postures just hurt. Do I shouldn't do this. This breathing exercise because I can modify for students in class in a group if I know maybe don't do this down dog on your elbows or don't do a dolphin pose today but, but I can't modify for students. If we can't ever say the word pelvic floor. And also, the truth is that people don't know what it is What is the pelvic floor and it's it I didn't really know I knew I read the books. Then I started looking into it and I saw the images but did I feel it in my bony it took a long time. And so that's the big thing about the book is let's for a second zoom in and find those small ways in which we can start connecting to this area. And what I love about your book too, is like you were mentioning men and women and you have diagrams in there of both of the pelvic areas for men and women. And then you have a lot of beautifully diagrammed exercises to help you move through and really you know, work with different areas and a lot of it to me is just relaxing and learning how to breathe. Yeah, it's one of the biggest secrets, share, and so many let's say this kind of most common example right that's that's a woman had babies and she can't stress enough content as she leaks when she now sneezes and she's sure that she needs to squeeze squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze because it's to relax. And very, very often the body has already worried about about the leakage. And has already squeezed so much that in fact the muscles are so tight, that they're not strong at all because there's no range in the muscles they they can't You can't contract what's what can't be extended or lengthen a little bit. So a lot of the work surprises people when we're just supposed to for a moment visualize length and stretch and stretch particular areas around the pelvis. And it's a big surprise for people and also shocking. Wait, you want me to just do a squat and let my pelvic floor relax? How is that going to help me? Why right? And one of the most moving stories in the book for me is a student who have had fecal incontinence so that's even less spoken about right who wants to share that they that they leak a stool it's it's there's so much shame around it. And never in her life did she think that relaxing could help but after decades of desperation of nothing helping she finally was willing to try it and was astonished. So imagine the muscles represent what's going in our emotional body and it's just all that holding all that fear. All that this shouldn't be and I for myself as well being a yoga teacher and moving a teaching body awareness. I leak pee doesn't you know and so first thing is saying is hey, this is really happening to me and then I want to solution and then trying to to work through the fear and the shame of that and embarrassment and and to be enjoyed conversation with other people. And yeah, I think that's key to is awareness. And I don't know if you've noticed this near practice, and especially in the last couple years, you know, we've been through so much and we've had to really kind of come back home and what you know what's next and the unfoldment is part of the healing and so I don't know have you noticed that in the last two years or so now that we've kind of coming out of, you know, what we've been involved in the last two years that people are ready to heal or ready or more in tune with their body or have you noticed that? That's a good question. Um, that is a good question. Actually. If I've noticed a shift with that, not in particularly regarding the pelvic floor because we've been through so much like you say that people have a you know, a hierarchy of messes they have to deal with. And so sometimes some things have been pushed around or to the side. And then for some people it feels more urgent to want to heal to start a new but then for other it depends it really depends. Yeah, I guess that's what I was kind of here for spirit when you're saying that too is like it's all individual because for those that are like if you're leaking you're gonna want bigger How do I how can I help this? But if you're not and I think a fight and flight like you know, the fight or flight and we've kind of all been in that as at certain points in the last two years. So it's like that holding on. Gripping. It is and then also what the did going into your home was also not maybe being as exposed. Maybe you don't go to or didn't go to as many trampoline parks with your kids. And had to say, oh, no, I won't jump today. So I think there's room now is where maybe moving out of the stage hopefully and more social and more out than I think it's absolutely time and they see more voices of physical therapists. On Instagram and on social media speaking very loudly about the limitations of cables. That's been the only answer. And it's not a good answer. It's not an in depth answer at all. And and so I think I think it will steer up now and there'll be a lot of room for wanting to live a better a better life. And this is where this piece found me as a yoga teacher. Okay, I want to teach arm balances. I want to teach this but wait first, are there really so many people suffering and they're you know, men after prostate cancer surgery or transgender transgenders, who definitely have a lot going on in this issue and a lot of emotional things to work through. And there's so much out there so I realized that before I'm very excited about teaching a handstand, the split. I really want to teach how to be more loving towards your body more accepting, and that's where it starts. And like you said earlier, and it starts with you. So you were like I'm having some of these. So let's see how we can work with this and so you're talking about I would love to go into how you finish your book with the the word of mixture I say spied by Dr. Yeah, somebody I am. Divide. Yeah, yeah. I'd love for you to talk a bit about this because this is how you ended the book. And I thought this is profound. We this is this is really amazing. Thank you. I'll just, I'll read is that okay? Definitely. Um, there's, it's the summary of the book. So I love it that we're just sharing but I'll read this paragraph. There's one more concept in yoga that I would like to close with somebody IEA study of the self and this is from the yamas and niyamas, which in yoga philosophy come before you practice any posture breathing exercise, its rules of conduct, how we are with others how we are with each others. To Know thyself, is the beginning of wisdom says the practice. We can learn about ourselves in many ways, and with attentive, thorough and meaningful learning comes wisdom. The pelvic floor is just the pelvic floor. It is everything when things aren't going well. And it is just one part of our greater self when things are working as they should. The work presented in this book is just one more way that we can learn more about who and how we are so love that. Thank you. That so the concept of knowing thyself is knowing that even though maybe all your neighbors also pee their pants when they go for a run, it is not okay. It doesn't need to be there. Like other things we sweep under the rug like other aspects in our life that we might sweep under the rug and pretend we can see about ourselves or about our situation or about whatever is happening in our work in our life, and our family. So this is just one more thing that needs to be aired out. At least to know if you may not be able to fix this shoe. But if you're willing to look into VR, and saying, Okay, I have this this thing I need to work on. And the beautiful thing about it in relation if I take in yoga other postures and I love yoga I've been teaching yoga for almost 20 years. And I think there's anything you can learn from all the asana about life, but specifically about this is because of this, the private nature of it and so when things function as they are and when I understand the pelvic floor as actually my core as a system. It is a part of the deep core, and it's an important part of the deep core. So when we understand that, and honestly, Teresa, I don't feel like can even teach now abdominal work or any like ab exercises without first teaching that foundation of pelvic floor because I almost almost feel there's no integrity in that because if other people are doing crunches and pushing down on their pelvic floor squeezing too much. They so what if you have a six pack but if your internal layer and your pelvic floor and breath and the diaphragm aren't working in an organic way, then your core that beautiful center of you isn't really strong, I think not strong in that deep spiritual way. And so, yeah, so know thyself is is the attention to that part in a very holistic way and everyone who has a movement practice but then also just how I stand up right up up from this chair and walk, go to the bathroom. You know, sexual relations, alignments, all of it starts from there. Yeah, it does. And so that's why I'm so excited to have you on today. Leah because you are so enthusiastic about this area. of our lives, which is such a big deal. I feel it's a big deal. I know you feel it's a big deal too. And coming on and just sharing because it's you know, it's also just sharing like this with my listeners out there around the world, and how important that is just to even start tuning into that so maybe if they have not, maybe taken not taken awareness of you know, something going on down there or, like you said, maybe not having incontinence or whatever, but just that awareness so if this does come up for you, or if you're in the middle, or the midst of going through some of these things. Leah has a beautiful book, that it's a step by step of how to really start strengthening and really, that awareness. So I'd love for you to talk a little bit about Leo your offerings. So do you do online? I know you're in Copenhagen. So we all can't be in Copenhagen, but please share with the listeners how they can get in touch with you in some of your beautiful services. Okay, thank you. So first my book so many years on and you can find it on Amazon and it's funny I you know, I thought sometimes book is so limited. It's not really teaching but then for some people the book was enough and I've gotten some beautiful feedback like that. So that was exciting. And I put my heart and soul into it. So there's that and then I do teach online. I teach zoom classes, weekly group classes. I teach private classes on Zoom and all my offerings are on my website and I am going to teach a workshop on the 24th and fifth of September of this month with my friend Lauren Davidson is a brilliant Pilates teacher. Which again, Pilates is another world where you constantly hear, tighten and tighten and tighten and and without an understanding really how that could can create over tension that has other repercussions in our life. Maybe you look better in a bikini. I'm not even sure about that. But if other things stop working then is it really is that really how we want to feel into our bodies. And then so we're doing that online. So anyway, it's online. I was going to ask you that online or in person or online and it's today's posted by a beautiful studio synergy mind body in Tennessee. So this is how amazing the world is. Now she Lauren is in Miami and I'm in Copenhagen and a Tennessee studio is hosting us online. Oh, why No, some beautiful things have happened in the world to in these years. Yes, that's Oh, yeah. Without a doubt that connection. did want to say that for some people specifically when it comes to pelvic floor work, being in their intimate space of their own house. And practicing online has actually surprisingly been beneficial because you asked me for about the pandemic and I this I want to add that for some people that has kept them very safe. And being able to be in their space vulnerable and open to try new practices. So that has been a benefit. You know, I didn't even think about and so, for this work, it's so internal and personal. You don't need my hands on your body. You know, I don't need to help you assist. It's, it's that internal investigation. And then I'm teaching a teacher training here in Copenhagen, which I'm psyched about but it's it's it's in Europe, and yeah, they should come Theresa. I'll get on the next plane Leah, but I hope to go with that online soon. But again, you can sign up to my newsletter and get all the news about everything I do. Wonderful and I will have all that in the show notes. And thank you so much, Leah for coming on today and shedding some light on this very intimate and oftentimes not talked about area of our of our life in our body, which I feel is so important. So thank you so much, Leah. Thank you, Teresa. Thank you.