Pelvic Resources

Below is my pelvic journey – a story of my pelvic pain, healing & the people who helped me along the way. I hope by sharing my story & these resources, other women will find the healing they need faster.

This information is NOT common knowledge.  If you find it helpful please share it with your friends so that it can be one day!  Share this information with your daughter, your mom, your grandma, your friend. Share the pelvic love. 

My Pelvic Journey

Before yoga I had such a horrible relationship with my body. I had very little understanding of my anatomy “down there” & sex was either painful or numb.  My first sexual experiences were traumatic and I had never really enjoyed sex since.  My cycle was controlled by birth control, I had horrible cramps and I saw bleeding as an inconvenience.  I had no idea how much pain & trauma I was storing in my body, especially my pelvic floor.

As I started to connect with my body on the mat I started to notice little things and began looking into holistic treatments (like acupuncture).  I didn’t know it then, but I look back at this time on the mat & on the acupuncture table as my first steps “down the pelvic rabbit hole.”

As I continued down that hole, something kept calling me to remove my IUD. I wasn’t ready for children but the message continued to get louder, especially during my quiet times on the mat. I eventually listened to the perfect podcast, that lead to the perfect book, that led me to take my IUD out, that led to pelvic yoga & pelvic physical therapy, that led to talk therapy. It was basically “If you give a mouse a cookie” but the crumbs were guiding me down a dimly lit path of healing for my body, mind, soul & pelvic floor.

This pelvic healing journey is far from over, but I don’t want to wait until the end to share all of this information. So here are the people, podcasts, books & pelvic magic I’ve found so far.  I will continue to add to this as the journey continues, to share my story & to help light the pelvic path a little brighter for other women!

 

Where it all began

Growing up I didn’t get much of a sex talk. My grandparents relied on school to teach me sex ed.  In school they gave us little more than, “Don’t do it.  And if you do, wear a condom.” You’d think raising their young daughter’s child would be enough to spur a “birds & the bees” conversation but instead I got silent treatment. They ignored any moments they “caught” me self exploring.  Sex was a shameful thing, that we didn’t speak of.  One day I excitedly told my grandma about my first kiss & was scolded “I better never hear about you doing anything like that ever again.” She never did. After that, I kept my sexuality to myself.  Even when I was taken advantage of in high school.

I was 16 and both were neighbors who I’d known, dated & trusted.  One had been so aggressive while I was blacked out, that I woke up covered in my own blood.  I hid this information from my grandparents.  I wasn’t supposed to be out. I thought I would get in trouble for being out “drinking with boys” instead of being where I said I was.  I thought they’d blame (or at least shame) me.

The boys who took advantage of me in high school were the only people I’d ever had sex with up to that point.  This set a tone for me & sexual partners.  Sex became painful or disconnected, both leaving me feeling empty & unsatisfied. Partners would become discouraged & often give up on trying, making me undesirable & unwanted.

These are just some of the stories of my pelvis, but don’t worry, my story starts to get a little brighter! I am happy to report that I am now in a healthy, loving relationship with a partner who has fully embraced & held my hand on my pelvic healing journey.  After learning how to relax my tense pelvic floor & therapy to work through my sexual trauma, sex is no longer painful (in fact, quite the opposite). My period pain is down, my sex drive is up & I finally have love for my vagina!!!

I am so grateful the universe helped me find my magical pelvic team (my acupuncturist, my pelvic physical therapist, my therapist, my pelvic yoga teacher & authors) who helped to light the way down this pelvic healing path. This post has been 15+ years in the making and I am excited to share these resources with you on your pelvic journey.

Before you read on, what stories does YOUR pelvis have to tell?  Write down your story in a journal.

Acupuncture - Ashlee

So let’s chat about my epic acupuncturist & owner of Jade Moon Wellness, Ashlee.  I originally started visiting Ashlee for night sweats.  She helped me with those immediately and we started to look at other signs of imbalance in my body.

A few visits into treatment, Ashlee put needles in my lower abdomen (always the most sensitive needles for me).  During my time alone, I started to feel this weird sensation. It felt like darkness crawling out of me.   If you’ve ever seen Harry Potter, it was like a dementor was swirling out of my womb space. I had no idea what to make of that experience but I felt lighter after, like something had been cleansed out of me.

Sometimes during yoga nidra practice or deep meditation, it would feel as if the needles were still in my body & the darkness was swirling out of me. Each time felt like a call to remove my birth control.  After finding some amazing podcasts & books (see below) I eventually ended up removing my IUD.

This was the my first time body had been birth control free in 15 years! It was amazing but required a lot of emotional & physical cleansing & rebalancing.  I am so grateful for Ashlee’s acupuncture & support during this process.

Pelvic Physical Therapy - Dr. Kim

Ashlee introduced me to Dr. Kim Bryant, owner of Thrive Pelvic Health.  I worked in a Physical Therapy office for years but had never heard of a pelvic physical therapist before.

It took me a minute to wrap my head around the concept of internal treatment but boy am I glad I did!  My pelvic floor was what they call “hypertonic” which basically means it was tense AF! Before I could strengthen my pelvic floor, I first need to relax.  This is where stretches and internal pelvic massage come in.  I jokingly say I had a “knotty pelvis” but no joke, there were knots in my pelvic floor.  Remember that “stabbing” I described during sexual intercourse.  That made a lot more sense when I felt how sensitive these trigger points in my pelvic floor were.  Imagine someone just poking your knots in your back!!

Dr. Kim has amazing bedside manner and made it easy for me to relax during what could be an awkward experience. She held space for the waves of emotion that came with treatment.  She walked me through everything without dumbing it down or talking above my head, which put me more at ease.  She helped me learn how to properly kegel, how to stretch my pelvic floor and really helped me connect my breath & pelvic floor movement.

She currently has a practice in Tempe and is expanding to Mesa soon for any of my AZ locals.  She also has an online pregnancy program available.

Pelvic Yoga - Leslie Howard

Around the time I was connecting with Dr. Kim, I’d just finished reading “Pelvic Liberation” by Leslie Howard which introduced me to the concept of Pelvic Yoga.  It blew my mind!  

It was like the sex education I had never received plus yoga: anatomy, explaining different conditions, ways to modify yoga poses for my pelvic needs (aka my tense pelvic floor).  Until then I hadn’t really realized how much we throw around the phrase “kegel” without ever teaching anyone how to do one properly and that not everyone needs to be kegeling as much as we think. (this goes for the yogi’s yoni eggs too!)

This book makes it so clear that this “one size fits all” approach that is so common amongst women’s health today doesn’t work, especially when it comes to the pelvic floor.  No two pelvises are the same & it’s time we start looking at the root issues, rather than just telling everyone to kegel.

This book helped a ton with self discovery, self diagnosis (which my pelvic physical therapist, Dr. Kim, later confirmed for me) and ways to modify poses for my specific pelvic needs.  This book is so much more than kegels or “mula bandha.”

I highly recommend this for yoga students with pelvic issues (such as incontinence, hypertonic or hypotonic pelvic floor, vulvodynia, vaginismus or IBS) and yoga teachers interested in learning more about pelvic yoga.

Talk Therapy

Both Dr. Kim & Leslie recommended therapy during treatment.  Whether it was self exploratory pelvic yoga or internal massage with Dr. Kim, they saw the power of the practices they were recommending.  They saw the power these practices had on the physical, mental & emotional body.

With great power comes great responsibility, so it is MY responsibility now to recommend the same to you.  If you want to dive deeper into pelvic yoga, pelvic physical therapy or pelvic healing of any kind, I highly recommend having some type of professional therapy or emotional support system in place.

I thought I was “healed enough” to opt out of therapy during pelvic yoga & therapy. Looking back, this was clearly a bad idea. The intense sadness & anger coming up from these practices became so overwhelming that I had to temporarily pause pelvic yoga teaching & pelvic physical therapy. I realized that so much of my anxiety was stemming from the trauma I had experienced in high school & I wasn’t emotionally ready to hold space for others trauma.

After a year of therapy & self reflection, I am finally feeling ready to hold space for others as I begin to share pelvic yoga with the world. With that being said, I’ve had time to reflect on boundaries to support both me & my students on our pelvic journeys. I am a yoga teacher, I am not a therapist.  Yoga, especially pelvic yoga, can really unlock emotionally. If you’re attending my pelvic yoga classes, joining my pelvic yoga book club or starting “pelvic” anything I cannot stress enough to make sure that you have professional emotional & mental support in your corner on this journey.

Cycle Tracking - Lisa Lister

While in yoga teacher training, one of the breadcrumbs I found on this pelvic path was a podcast.  A friend told me to check out a podcast with Shaman Durek as a guest. I misunderstood and accidentally listened to the first episode of his podcast, where Lisa Lister was the guest.  No mistakes, just happy accidents. (Bob Ross, am I right?!) This was the perfect podcast for me.

It led me to read her books which eventually helped give me the push I needed to get my IUD out.  I started with “Love Your Lady Landscape” but I would probably say “Code Red” is my favorite.  That one taught me how to track my period and how to tap into the power of my moon cycle.  I used to dread my period, but now its something I honor. I plan my work and social schedule around it, instead of trying to force myself to show up the same every week.  It’s helped a ton emotionally, especially with my anxiety & stress level.

Period Panties

Because of my tense pelvic floor muscles, tampons & menstrual cups were a struggle.  My muscles were too tight, making insertion feel uncomfortable and at times it felt like my body was pushing the product out.

Period panties have given me the opportunity to bleed comfortably & free bleed without the mess!  I’ve tried a few different brands but my hands down favorite is THINX. I love them so much, I became a Thinx Leader so I could offer a discount for my pelvic yoga students. This discount works on Thinx (period panties) abd their sister lines, BTWN (teen line) & Speax (bladder leaks).

Click the button below for $10 OFF your first pair!

This is just the beginning...

I’ve come so far in my healing journey, but I know this is just the beginning. Pelvic Yoga is such a new field with so much to learn, both as a teacher & student.  I’m so excited to see where this path leads me next.  Wherever it leads, I promise to continue sharing.

This information is not common knowledge YET, but it can be.  Please share this page or specific resources you find helpful with the women around you. Share this information with your daughter, your mom, your grandma, your friend. Together, our pelvic stories will help so many women heal!

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