What do Mula Bandha, root lock, Kegel muscles, pelvic floor, Transverse Abdominis (TA or TVA), and core all have in common?
They are all, essentially, the same thing.
While there are several muscles involved, they are all interconnected and result in stabilization the pelvis and by extension, the entire body. By learning how to access the pelvic floor muscles (Mula Bandha, root lock, and Kegels), you will develop the ability to strengthen the Transverse Abdominis / core.
I can’t overstate how important it is to develop and use these muscles for balance and stability. At the same time, I can’t overstate how overlooked they are.
The purpose of this post is not to give you too much info on how to put this into practice, but rather, to bring it to your attention. You can ask your physiotherapist, yoga teacher, or personal trainer how to do it. They should all have a good understanding of the mechanics and be able to explain to you how it all works.
Briefly, the pelvic floor / Kegel / Mula Bandha / root lock are the muscles you use if you imagine that you are trying to stop peeing. This seems simple, but it might take a bit of practice to learn how to do it on command. The contraction of these muscles will lead to the contraction of the Transverse Abdominis / core. We all know that we need a strong core, right? The TA is the muscle we need to strengthen. Check it out:
It looks a bit like a girdle, doesn't it? Well, that is essentially what it is. Have you ever seen those weight-lifting belts? This is your body's natural weight-lifting belt.
Yoga is all about balance and stability. When this skill is underdeveloped, we can’t perform poses to their full potential.
The same holds true for every single activity we do in our daily lives: walking, running, hiking, walking up and down stairs. tennis, golf, swimming, skiing. More importantly, as we age, maintaining balance and stability is crucial to our safety and enjoyment of life. Think of all the broken hips that could be avoided if we were in better physical shape as we age.
Try this quick test to get a feel for how it works. Sit down and put your hands on your abdomen, with the TA in mind (look back at the diagram). Now, pretend you are trying to stop peeing. Do this a few times and you will begin to feel a subtle tightening in your abdomen. You've got it!
Please take some time to Google any of these terms, and ask your health-care or fitness professional for advice. There is a lot more to learn and I hope you use this post as your first step to improving your stability for life!
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