Menstrual Cycle – Role of Your Uterus

How do you feel about your menstrual cycle?  Love it?  Hate it?  Dread it?  Embrace it?

I would venture to say 90% of women would respond with “hate it” or “dread it”.  Why do we feel that way?  Is this pattern of thought destroying who we are as women?  Are there some people who really like their periods?  Yes!  I happen to be one of them—I didn’t used to feel that way but I do now.  My whole view on menstruation was that it was dirty, needed to be hidden, that you push through it and you suffer through it.  I now see how negative that view was and how that negative view was affecting me as a women, wife, lover, and mother.

God created menstruation–but for many it is not seen as anything God given nor blessed.

My hope is to help women embrace menstruation as God designed it, to not see it as something to endure but as something to honor and cherish.

We were created as bleeding women for a reason.  This is the whole reason why I am so passionate about women’s issues.

One of the products that has helped me learn to love my period is the Diva Cup. (I have no affiliation with this company, just love their product.) This great little device can be worn from 8-12 hours before it needs to be emptied, it is reusable so you aren’t dumping anything into the trash, it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, and it is easy to use.

If you are a Diva Cup wearer, please share your stories here.  I would love to hear how this has changed your menstrual cycle for the better.

If you are NOT a Diva Cup wearer, I challenge you to try it.  You and your body just might like it.

Another thing that really helped my menstrual cycle seven years ago was Maya Abdominal Massage Therapy. I wanted to see if this type of massage therapy would help to realign and restore the center of my body after 3 births, 4 babies, and my constant battle with yeast infections.

When I went to my appointment I started with filling out a female intake form that asked me about my diet, my pregnancies, my menstrual cycles, my family’s history of disease, my activity level, etc.  I then went through an hour long call with the massage therapist, in which she dug a little deeper.

Through our conversation she hypothesized that my uterus was resting on my bladder, literally pushing my bladder down.  Your uterus is suppose to be 1 ½ inches above your pubic bone.  If this was the case it would explain many things I’ve experienced through my life such as a cystocele, sciatica, problems with my feet, heavy menstrual cycles, menstrual cramping, bruising on my legs, and yeast infections.  I’m discovering that the uterus is essential to a women’s total body health—which makes complete sense because the uterus makes us uniquely female.

The misalignment of the uterus can also contribute to the following things:

  • PMS/Depression prior to menstruation
  • Painful intercourse
  •  Painful periods
  • Late, early or irregular periods
  • Headache, migraine or dizziness with period
  • Blood clots and excessive bleeding
  • Difficult menopause
  • Chronic miscarriage
  • Premature deliveries
  • Difficult pregnancy
  • Fertility issues
  • Endometriosis
  • Polyps/Fibroids
  • Vaginal Yeast conditions
  • Uterine infections
  • Chronic indigestion or heartburn
  • Gastritis, Colitis, Crohn’s
  •  Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  •  Multiple food allergies
  • Low back ache
  • Frequent or painful urination
  • Bladder infection
  • Incontinence
  • Chronic skin conditions
  • Varicose veins of legs and hemorrhoids
  • Tired weak legs
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Diverticulitis
  • Sore heels when walking
  • Numb legs and feet (especially while standing still for a while)

A uterus that is tilted one way or another can also affect the thinning of the uterine wall which is menstruation.  A uterus that is not positioned correctly could potential shed the lining unevenly.  I also learned that the uterus is like a sponge and if it is tilted back toward the colon it can actually absorb fecal matter.  An indication of this would be brownish flow during menstruation—who knew!

The uterus also secretes estrogen, androgen, and progesterone—these hormones support sexuality, pregnancy, birth, and the ability to nurture others.

Since this appointment, I also learned that my very poor posture was a huge player in the misplacement of my uterus.  The key to good posture and good alignment for your uterus is to keep your front hip bone (ASIS) vertical of the pubic bone.  Slouching, high heels, and carrying children on your hip can all impact one’s alignment and the integrity of the uterus.  (Yes, ladies our cute high heels affect our uterus.)

Who knew the uterus was such an amazing and influential organ to the female body.  From this point on I will cherish this organ (my inmost being) so much more.

Why I Ditched Kegels

Pelvic floor health is something I have had a passion for ever since the birth of my first child. After my daughter’s birth, my pelvic floor was just not the same. Jumping and trampolines made me nervous.

At my post-natal follow up, I found I had a cystocele, which is a slight drop of the vaginal wall.  As I searched how to correct my pelvic floor dysfunction, the unanimous answer was Kegels.

Here is a little history on Kegels.

Kegels were first published in 1948 by Arnold Kegel. A Kegel exercise is to repeatedly contract and relax the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor. The aim of Kegel exercises is to improve muscle tone by strengthening the pubococcygeus muscles of the pelvic floor. For four years, I did Kegels on and off to correct my pelvic floor issues and I saw no change. I thought this was due to having my children too close together, not having enough time to heal, and not doing enough Kegels.

What’s the matter with the Kegel?
When muscles are too tight, they are just as ineffective as muscles that are weak. Kegels often over work the muscles of the pelvic floor, which causes them to shorten. As the pelvic floor shortens, it begins to draw the sacrum towards the pubic bone (front side of the body). This movement creates slack in the pelvic floor muscles, which makes the center of it sag downward. In addition, the pull of the sacrum forward can cause lower back pain. Anyone have an increase in lower back pain since doing Kegels on a regular basis?

Kegels are a short-term solution to a whole body problem. Practicing the tips below are much more effective in healing pelvic floor disorders than any amount of Kegels. Kegels are good for creating a mind/body relationship to the muscles in the pelvic floor and during intercourse, but that is about it.

If you want to understand more about why a Kegels should not be the only part of your pelvic floor repair work, check out this great blog post.

So if the Kegel is not good for the pelvic floor, what is?

  1. Align your pelvis

2. Align your feet and stretch the legs

3. Standing more (but in good alignment)

4. Stop sucking in (let your belly be a belly and hang out)

5. Start healing your diastasis recti

6. Learn how to engage your transverse abdominal muscles correctly

This book is also a life saver for understanding how to heal pelvic floor disorders and disatasis recti.

How to Align Your Shoulders

In the yoga world I hear these words a lot, “draw your shoulders down and back.” The cue is meant to help align people’s shoulders but what I have seen in bodies is that it causes people to excessively pull their shoulder blades back and also causes them to push their ribs forward.

If you have always tried to align your shoulder by drawing the down and back but yet you still have chronic neck and shoulder tension, that means something is unbalanced. Likely this imbalance is due to the shoulder being in the incorrect position.

Listen to the video below to find out more about how to think through aligning your shoulders.

The following DVD by Nutritious Movement was such a helpful resource to me when I was trying to understand how to effectively align my shoulders —From the Shoulders Up.

How To Align Your Pelvis

The number 1 tip that I give to people who are working on healing their diastasis recti is to correct their pelvic alignment. Your core muscles cannot do their job well when the bones of the body (pelvis) are incorrectly position. Think about buying a house. When you look at a house one of the main aspects you look at is the foundation and the structure. You want to know if it is sound or if it is in need of repair.

Your pelvis is a major structure for supporting your core. If your pelvis is not in the proper position, it does not allow the core muscles to activate properly and it can also weaken the linea alba which is the connective tissue between the rectus abdominal muscles. When healing your diastasis recti it is important to allow the core muscles and the linea alba to be in the best position.

Check out this short video below on how to align your pelvis when standing, sitting, or lying on your back.

Healthy Feet #7 – Stand with Your Feet Parallel

Notice the position of your feet at various times during the day. When you look at them, are they parallel?  Or are both feet turned out? Or one foot turned out? Are the legs parallel or do you stand with a hip popped out? Awareness is the first step is correcting foot alignment

Once you observe how you naturally stand, the next step is to learn how to bring your feet into correct alignment to positively support your body. Your feet impact all of the aspects of our health.

Strive daily to stand with your feet parallel—when you stand in line, when you watch dishes, when you walk, when you work out, etc.

The following video will break down how you align your feet when standing in mountain pose (aka: standing tall).

Alignment from the Ground Up

This blog was first posted on Holy Yoga Global®, LLC:
https://holyyoga.net/2019/03/28/healthy-foot-awareness-alignment-from-the-ground-up/

In honor of April being Healthy Foot Awareness month, I want to bring you a post dedicated to our amazing feet.  However, for many of us our feet don’t feel like amazing structures. Some sources estimate that over 75% of Americans will experience foot problems in their lifetime.  Eight percent of the population will suffer back pain due to problems that started in their feet as well.

Lets take a look at why our feet are so amazing and how we can use our feet affectively to help them feel amazing too!

FUN FOOT FACTS:

  • 52 bones in your feet make up one quarter of all the bones in your body.
  • The average person takes 8,000-10,000 steps a day, which adds up to 115,00 miles in a lifetime – more than 4 times the circumference of the globe.
  • By age 12 a child’s foot is about 90% of its adult length.
  • The American Podiatry Medical Association suggest buying shoes in the afternoon, as your feet tend to swell during the day.  Your feet can be 5% to 10% larger at the end of the day than they are at the beginning.
  • Toenails grow faster in hot weather (strange and cool).
  • The skin on your feet is 20 times thicker than on any other part of your body.
  • The soles of your feet contain more sweat glands and sensory nerve endings per square centimeter than any other part of the body.

HOW TO ALIGNMENT THE FEET:

1. Stand with your pelvis back over your heels, which will transfer the weight of your body onto your heel (calcaneus) instead of having your weight directly over your arches and small bones of your feet. 

2. Turn the foot forward.  Instead of looking at the space or direction of the toes, we are going to look at different aspects of the feet to bring them into alignment.  For many people the toes do not face forward but are angled – often due to bunions or other toe deformities.

• Draw a straight line from the head of your 5th metatarsal (pinkie toe) straight back toward the heel.  This line may or may not touch the heel or ankle. Don’t worry about that right now.

• Draw a straight line straight down from the lateral malleolus (outside of the heel) toward the ground.

• Where the line from your 5th metatarsal and lateral malleolus intersect is where the outside edge of your calcaneus (heel) should be placed.

• When you follow these alignment points it will bring your feet into the correct anatomical position that supports the health of your feet and the health of your whole body.

• This new alignment may feel very strange.  Work into it slowly, standing this way for several minutes a day and then building on it each day.

• Lastly, when aligning one area of your body often draws out dysfunction (misalignment) in another area. So, don’t be surprised if you find this happening with your new foot stance.

Bringing your feet into the alignment described above will help support many common foot problems people experience such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, and low arches of the feet.

Moving into an Alignment Filled Life

  1. Stand with your pelvis over your heels (not your toes)
  2. Carry your kids in front of you without compromising your alignment

Posture is not alignment. Posture is about how you hold something, and many of us hold our posture very poorly. However, alignment is the optimal way that something should be placed in order to work the most effectively and efficiently.

What does proper alignment looks like?

  1. Step your feet pelvic distance apart.
  2. Turn your feet forward so that your heels are directly behind you.
  3. Stack your ears over your shoulders, shoulders over your hips, hips over your knees, knees over your ankles.

The first step in restoring one’s body has to start with alignment. Alignment is how your body will best operate and function. So, this where we start, friends—practicing alignment as much as you can in your daily life.

Standing in line at the grocery store.

Washing dishes.

Going for a walk.

Holding children.

Standing at your computer. (Yep, standing, try that.)

As you practice proper alignment, you may find that you become tired easily. That is normal and to be expected. Practicing proper alignment requires new muscles to turn on. So, if you are finding yourself getting tired, come out of proper alignment and then go back into it after you have rested a bit. Over time, you will build up your endurance to stand in proper alignment and your body will start to crave it.

Not only does proper alignment affect your muscles, it affects all the systems in your body. When you are in good alignment, you give your organs more room to do their work and allow the circulatory system to move blood most efficiently.

So, what does that mean on a practical level?

  • Your heart doesn’t need to work so hard to pump blood through your body because all of the veins and arteries are in elongated positions and not rounded or shorted. (Think about rounded shoulders, when you round your shoulders, all the veins/arteries take on rounded postures with you).
  • For women, your uterus will be able to move into the proper place in your body, which means easier periods, less cramping, and less need to go to the bathroom.
  • For men, it gives your prostate more room.
  • Your kidneys, liver, and stomach have more room to process your foods and eliminate those things the body no longer needs.

Proper alignment affects much more than bones and muscle. It affects all aspects of the body. And I forgot to mention…guess what the best way to combat osteoporosis is? To have your bones properly stacked on top of one another—proper alignment.

  1. Utilize a standing work station
  2. Sit on an exercise ball
  3. Change your shoes to minimalist (no heel) shoes (click here to read more about how to do this)
  4. Purchase some alignment socks to stretch out your feet (your feet will LOVE you for it)
  5. Practice this calf stretch – Place your foot on a 1/2 dome or a yoga mat.  Keep your heel on the floor and your toes straight forward.  Make sure the heel is in alignment as well, it will typically want to turn inward to by pass the stretch.  Make sure you stand tall with your weight on your back foot and both legs straight.  Relax your knee caps.  Hold for a minute on each leg.
  6. Don’t wear flip flops
  7. Sit on the floor more
  8. Walk daily

Note: if you have a diastasis recti (mummy tummy), ALL of these will help you in healing it.

Rock Advent Challenge

During the month of December, Nutritious Movement did a Rock Advent countdown.  The following posts were featured on my Instagram feed.  Each day showcases a different movement to get you moving.  Many of the movements include the use of a chair to make the movements more accessible. However, you can do the same movements without a chair if you desire to challenge the body differently.

Day 1 – Classic Rock

Get in and out of a chair holding an object with your shins vertical. Shins vertical engages your glutes instead of it being so thigh focused. 

Day 2 – Rock Overhead

The key to this movement is to keep your ribs down. It is not as easy as you think. Due to shoulder tension we tend to move our ribs outward to give us more range of motion in the shoulders. It is really a false range of motion.

Also notice when you keep your ribs down you may not be able to take your arms behind your ears.

Day 3 – Squat Counterbalance

Some people are not able to get down into a full squat while counterbalancing with holding onto something due knee or hip issues, to list a few reasons. 


You can still practice this movement while holding onto something like a banister as you lower yourself down. Don’t worry if your hips don’t go lower than your knees–that may come weeks or months down the road (or never, which is ok too). No banister in your house, then use a door frame or something else solid that can support your weight.

Day 4 – Walk with Your Rock

I live in WI. Right now walking = battling icy streets and bundling up so you can bare the cold. It is very easy to decide to just not go outside and walk. I force myself to walk outside some days—usually a reward of chia tea helps! If you just can’t bring yourself to go out when it is cold and icy take your walking inside. Walk through your house for no other reason but to move. Or head to the gym to walk on a treadmill. The point is to move and walk.

If your rocks are buried under snow like mine, a snowball works just as well. And it is always a bonus when my little people join me on my daily walks. They can be motivated by chia tea too!

Day 5 – Rock Around the Clock

All of these variations work hand dexterity, hand and shoulder range of motion, and coordination. The version with one knee lifted is great for tapping into the core.

I love using golf balls before my classes start to open up the fascia of the feet. When doing this, be kind to your feet, you can be too aggressive and cause more harm than good.

People who often need to use a chair for yoga or movement, may not pay a lot of attention to their feet. Due to lack of mobility some people may not be able to touch their feet, so rolling a golf ball provides a way for their feet to get some much needed attention. 

Day 6 – Rock N’ Sole

Grab a golf ball and roll it under the bottom of your foot. Your soles will thank you.

Day 7 – Pelvic List on a Rock

In my chair yoga classes we work a lot on balance. The pelvic list is one of the many ways we work balance.

To do the pelvic list stand tall. If you need support use a chair or a banister to assist you. Press one foot down into the floor which creates a lift in the opposite foot. Allow that foot to hover above the floor without having the knee bent to do it. Also make sure you don’t hike up your hip to create the lift.

I often tell people in my classes that they can practice this when they pass their staircase by letting one foot hang off a step as I am going in this variation.

Day 8 – Rock and Roll


Not everyone can easily get down on the floor so I transferred this movement to sitting in a chair. The chair does limit your ability to roll back and up but it still gives you a chance to move your spine and strengthen the core.

For more challenge hold your rock further away from your torso.

Day 9 – Rolling Stone

Sitting in a chair move your rock or in my case different size balls (even a weighed one) with your arms and legs. Each size and weight you use will provide a new experience for the body.

Day 10 – Jumping Over Your Rock

When was the last time you jumped? And not because you were scared.

We don’t practice the art of jumping too much as we get older. The reasons are endless on why but here are a few: hurts my knees, hurts my back, causes me to pee a little, weak ankles.

If jumping is not for you right now you can still join me in this challenge. Hold onto a chair for support if you need it and step your foot up and over your rock. Or you can do this same foot action seated.

Day 11 – Rock Solid is

Falls are one of the main reasons for fractures when we get older. Exercise (aka movement) is the best way to prevent falls. Movement keeps our joints and muscles supple so that when we are faced with tricky surfaces our body can adapt. Balancing exercise also help with our proprioception which decreases with age. Find a line, beam, or something to walk across while holding your rock.

Day 12 – Squat on your Rock

Squatting is not easy for most people. So where do you start? The first step is to think through how a squat starts and NOT what it looks like at the end.

A squat starts with the knees bending. You can hold onto something and start bending your knees as your hips lower. You can also sit on your chair and bring one knee toward your chest which is similar to the end version of a squat.

Day 13 – Between a Rock & a Hard Place

Can you get up and down from a chair holding your rock? Try it with the rock near your torso, then the rock in one arm, and then the rock straight out in front of you. Each way you carry the rock will require the body to work differently. What other ways could you hold the rock and get up and down?


Day 14 – One Legged Squat

Place any size object and weight on the floor. Do a one-legged squat to pick up the object. Use a chair if you need it for balance while doing

Day 15 – Throw Your Rock

Sometimes I totally change up my chair yoga classes with a little fun. Balls not only provide a new way to do range of motion but you can also use them for hand eye coordination like we are doing with this challenge. If your participants don’t caught the ball, that is great too because they then need to stoop down to get it.

Day 16 -Rock out
There is just something about dance that makes people come alive. If you do a google search you will find nursing homes and care givers that use music in very magical ways for people. (Those stories always make me cry.) I use dance in my class from time to time and people love it.

Grab a partner or maybe just by yourself and dance with your rock.

Day 17 – Its Time to Rock Your Baby
There are many ways to use blocks in chair yoga classes. One thing I like to do is to place a block between people’s thighs. This is a great tool for people who tend to have their knees move inward when they get in and out of a chair.

Day 18 – Loaded Side to Side
A full squat may not be part of your body movement program right now and that is ok. You can still join this challenge by sitting in a chair and reaching your rock down to the floor. Try this with the legs opened at various distances as well.

Day 19 -Rock of Ages

In my chair classes, I teach a lot on balance and I present challenges to balance–like what you see in this image (stepping on and off a block or stepping from one block to another.) This challenge seems as though it would be unsafe for some people to do. And yes, that may be true. If someone really struggles with balance, I let them hold onto a chair or wall.

I used to teach balance and fall prevention workshops in conjunction with aging services. The number one aspect of these programs was to keep people moving and to get people moving. When someone stops moving or decreases how much they used to move, this is where you see a huge increase in falls.

Day 20 – Put Your Rock On.

Reaching overhead for some people is not easy due to shoulder issues. If that is you, simply modify by reducing the load (weight) that you are lifting upward or reduce the height of your lift. Yoga blocks work great to lift overhead.

While there are more days to Advent, my life was in full Christmas mode and I was not able to participate in the final days.  I hope the 20 challenges above have given you new ideas of how to move your body.

Transition to Minimal Footwear

How do you transition to minimal footwear?

  1. Evaluate the state of your feet now? Do you normally wear shoes with a 1-inch heel? 2 inches?
  2. Next find one pair of shoes you would like to replace and purchase the new shoe with a ½ inch smaller heel.
  3. Allow your body/feet adequate time to embrace these new shoes and heel height.
  4. Then purchase another pair of shoes with an even smaller heel. Repeat until all your shoes are those with minimal to no heels.

The biggest mistake people make when transitioning to minimal shoes is going from regularly wearing 1½ to 2-inch heels for over five years and then dropping to a shoe with no heel. Our bodies need time to transition, especially the muscles of our legs. Heels create shortened muscles in the legs, so when you go to no heels, these muscles will now require lengthening. Depending on how long you have been wearing heels, these muscles may not have been lengthened in years or decades.

As you drop your heels, the alignment of your body will start to shift. Your pelvis will come into a more neutral position, which will help with the alignment of your spine, organs, and overall health and functionality of your body.

Learn more about strengthening your feet and healing foot issues in the following videos: