Breathing. We do it all day, every day. Not particularly challenging, right? Well, at least not until you draw attention to it. Then add performing a Kegel to the mix. Suddenly breathing correctly seems to require the coordination of a surgeon.
If you’re struggling to maintain the Kegel weight inside your body and do a Kegel and coordinate your breath properly, you’re not alone. We’re here to help.
To begin the Kegel exercise, inhale and then relax, exhaling through your mouth, as though you are gently blowing out one birthday candle. During the exhale, perform a Kegel, contracting the muscles of your pelvic floor, imagining you’re stopping the flow of urine, pulling your urethra up into your body.
The goal is to always perform a Kegel while on the exhale, as opposed to while inhaling, or while holding your breath.
Dr. Amanda Olsen recommends practicing the breath pattern while laying on your back and focusing on what is happening in the pelvic floor, without doing the Kegel contraction.
“Inhale, allow your belly to rise up gently toward the ceiling,” she says. “Exhale gently out of your mouth, Your belly will come back down, don’t force it out.”
“As you lie there, breathe that way for a few minutes,” she adds. “Then start noticing what’s happening in your pelvic floor while you’re breathing that way.”
She points out that on the inhale, there’s a slight downward pressure on the pelvic floor and on the exhale, it gently lifts up. By paying attention to the slight upward movement, you can begin to work with what your body is already doing, adding in the contraction of a Kegel on your exhale.
“Practice in that position first, then you can add the weight,” says Dr. Amanda. “It will feel more coordinated and a lot easier.”
“Don’t be frustrated,” she adds. “It’s very common to struggle with it initially. Just like the clutch on a car with a manual transmission, it can be difficult to control at first, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes like second nature. It just takes practice.”