Embracing the 3-Diaphragms Model of Breathing Can Improve Your Pelvic Floor Function
June 22, 2021

We founded Threes Physiyoga to build bridges between the different disciplines and communities within the healthcare and wellness continuum. We believe doing so best supports our overall wellbeing. And our podcast, The Body Puzzle, is the latest place where we’re putting these pieces together. Each episode includes insights from experts and specialists who will empower and challenge our beliefs. They’ll also expand our foundational knowledge, and boost our relationships to our own bodies and each other.

In this episode, Dan Carter, CYT and Pilates instructor, discusses how his two favorite forms of movement affect your pelvic floor functionality. “I think it could be a generalization to say that yoga people underuse their pelvic floor and that Pilates people overuse it,” he says. “The origin of that is that, in yoga, this is a really big emphasis on belly breathing. And in Pilates, there’s a really big emphasis on rib-cage breathing—sometimes, almost to a fault.” 

No matter which workout you prefer, how you breathe during it won’t impact your overall pelvic floor health as much as how you breathe the rest of the time. “In our day to day lives, we need to be taking deep, full breaths that fill our core up,” Dan says. “Educating people about different, functional ways to breathe is the most important gateway to learning about the pelvic floor, and to improving happiness and quality of life.”

This concept is known as the three diaphragms model of breathing. And it allows your parasympathetic nervous system to activate when you’re relaxing or doing a slower movement practice. It’ll also allow your sympathetic nervous system to activate when you’re doing a more vigorous forms of physical activity. It’s something taught in our Advanced Yoga Teacher Training program. You can learn more about it here.

And listen in to Dan’s episode of The Body Puzzle below to hear more about how to use breath as a gateway for teaching pelvic floor

Editor’s note: This episode involves discussion of sexual assault that is graphic in nature. It occurs from minutes 10:00 to 11:00 if you’d prefer to skip past that part of the podcast.

 

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