IN PELVIC THRUST WE TRUST
By: Lauren Anderson
A few days ago, while the rest of the world was sleeping, I was up-all-night per usual laughing and crying along with some classic elephant videos on the internet. (If you don’t know by now, I have a deep and lifelong love of elephants. So this is a VERY common thing that happens to me.) The videos are all ones I’ve seen and loved before, but sometimes you just need a re-watch right?
You know what ones I’m talking about too. The one where the elephant decides to slide down the hill in the forrest? Or the one where the baby elephant tries to sit on that lady’s lap? Or the one where the elephant dances while that guy plays jazz on the piano?
And don’t even get me started with the two circus elephants getting reunited after being apart for over 20 years. And they miss each other so much that they bend the bars trying to get to each other. And when they do… they wrap their trunks around each other and don’t let go for days.
SHUT UP. I’M NOT CRYING YOU ARE.
Okay… before this piece veers too far across the planes of the Internet Serengeti, lets get back on track. My point is, I thought I’d seen every elephant video the internet had to offer, until I saw THIS ONE. The clickbait was undeniable. It said, “Man Calms Charging Elephant”.
Uh oh. Is this gonna be terrible? I don’t know what compels me, but I click through.
The video shows a bull (male elephant) charging an average-sized guy who is walking on the road. Now if you haven’t spent your youth/adulthood/that-one-time-in-the-bathroom-while-on-a-bad-date reading every possible elephant story you can get your hands on, let me be the first one to tell you that this is NOT a good thing.
Although Elephants are among the most intelligent and gentle animals on the planet, Bulls can still be aggressive if they want- especially if they’re in heat. And really, I’m hard-pressed to think of anything more terrifying than an animal that lapped you by thousands of pounds running at you with ears flapping and tusks pointing.
But not this dude. The guy just stood there. In fact, the human just kind of braced himself slightly. And then– oh how can I put this– vibed out this incredibly calm energy. As if to say to the elephant, “Hakuna Matata Friend. I’m just walking.”
It was so weird. You could feel the calm through the screen. And the charging bull stopped dead in his tracks. The human didn’t raise his shoulders, or spread himself out, or anything that made him seem typical Alpha. He didn’t make his body small either. It’s like he braced and then released energy.
Like if this were the 80’s and this human was a character on a Captain Planet cartoon or something, he would’ve zinged out a giant green orb to surround his body, and the elephant would’ve bowed down.
Instead the bull, just kind of backed up, then did another mini-charge, and again, the man just slightly braced and let out a calmness that was hard to pin down, but you could definitely FEEL.
Then he swished his walking stick back and forth kind of playfully and said something in another language than one I speak, and the bull backed up and walked away.
Then the man just kept walking. It was so bad-ass. Like some true Mr. Miyagi action.
And just another example of the elephants extraordinary intelligence, emotional and otherwise. But honestly, I watched the video a few times, and if not for the narrator, it would’ve been hard to decipher what I just watched. The only way to describe it was magic.
So why did I just take the time to re-count a video about an elephant from the internet? Well, honestly I can’t stop thinking about it. Such small imperceptible movement, that made that man incredibly strong and secure. Enough to back down a charging bull!
And it got me thinking, what can I do to make myself that strong and calm and secure?
So, a few days later, Coach Hannah posts this announcement that they are starting a new class at Solcana on Tuesday mornings at 9:30 am. It’s officially called “Pre-natal/Post-natal Class” but the class can benefit anyone with a pelvic floor. And all bodies have a pelvic floor.
The Pelvic Floor is essential in controlling the bladder and bowels.
If you’re trying to grow a baby in your body, it’s helpful to beef up the strength of this area to aid in future pregnancy. Or if you just had a baby come out of your body, there is a good chance your pelvic floor is not as strong as it once was.
But for weight-lifters, the pelvic floor can be a crucial tool to keeping beautiful technique.
In other words, a small, almost imperceptible, movement that can help you feel incredibly strong, calm, and secure! Just like the guy with the elephant! Haha! THE POWER!!!
And since I’ll do anything to be more like that elephant-whisperer, I had to give the class a try.
Cut to Tuesday. The class runs a lot like a typical class. With a warm-up, weightlifting and a Met-Con section. But the focus was all on our pelvic floor the whole time. The movements were slower, because it was about control and form above anything else, but the workout was intense.
I found myself sweating profusely because I was concentrating so hard. A lot of moving parts, with the most focus on one part in particular.
It was kinda funny, because everyone in the class had this weird “hyper concentration” face on. We were all in the room together, but you could tell we were all on our own separate safari inside our own heads.
And honestly? It took a while to just “find” the muscle in my own body, let alone isolate and engage it. Coach Hannah walked us through how to do this, using a series of bracing and breathing techniques.
Engaging your pelvic floor is different than doing a kegel too. It’s not a squeezing or holding. It’s like lifting. If you think of the bottom of your body like the floor of an elevator, you’re trying to lift the whole floor. A completely different sensation than anything I’ve attempted before.
Once I finally got the hang of it, the lower part of my body was so engaged and active. I felt a new sense of strength. It was a quiet, calm strength, but more secure than I’ve felt in a while.
This may sound strange, but it was like being introduced to a part of my body that I’ve been taking for granted all this time. It felt good to meet that muscle and give it some much needed attention and TLC.
I kept marveling at this tiny thing I could be doing at all times, not just in the gym, but in my waking and walking life to help myself feel– I dunno, better? Just in general? I felt like I was standing taller, so controlled, and I felt so so calm.
If you are a person that has anxiety, or pees a little when you laugh hard or lift heavy weights, or someone who geeks about good, strong technique— this class is a no-brainer. It’s a must-try.
For those of you who do yoga on the regular, you already know how important that Root Chakra is for grounding and centering yourself. And guess where that Root Chakra lives? Ding ding!
And for me personally, with all this new control over my pelvic floor, I couldn’t help but think this could be incredibly useful on a road trip, when there is no rest stop in sight.
It’s hard to describe this extraordinary sense of clam and self possession I felt as I left the gym that day. And I noticed myself practicing engaging my pelvic floor in the car, at work, wherever. It was my little secret that I think had a real positive effect on my day. To the point where someone at my rehearsal said, “Did you just get a massage or something? You seem kind of blissed out today.”
I laughed. Who knew this muscle that I didn’t really know about before that class could have the same outward effect as a massage?! Haha!
After class, I got to thinking about the Elephant and that guy again. I still don’t know what he did to calm that charging elephant and communicate that he was not a threat.
But I wouldn’t be surprised if his confidence started in the depths of his pelvic floor.
Wax on, wax off.