Alignment Snacks: All Fo' the Pelvic Flo'Katy Bowman
Year Released: 2013
Categories: Athletic Stretch , Instructional / How To Videos , Special Health Conditions
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Katy Bowman’s “Alignment Snacks” are short (20-30 minute) downloads which focus on body alignment. In each “snack,” Katy leads an unseen (but not necessarily unheard) class through an alignment session consisting of various stretches and/or gentle exercises. These movements are performed while Katy provides information on proper alignment. The snacks currently cost $5 each; you can find them on her website (katysays.com) under the “Move” tab.
This review is for All Fo’ the Pelvic Flo’, a 20 minute alignment session designed to educate you about the pelvic floor and to provide some assessment exercises for pelvic floor issues. Like many of the snacks, this class is on the floor.
The session begins with an anatomy lesson about the pelvic floor while you sit on a half dome. I don’t have a half dome, so I used a yoga block. Katy explains that the pelvic floor is a muscle group that is under a constant load, so you shouldn’t have to train it. Katy also says that, if your pelvic floor isn’t responding by contracting, that’s because it is positionally unable to do so. At about the 1.5 minute mark, Katy has you stretch the adductors by sitting in “V sit” (i.e., with your legs open like a “V”), while she talks about proper alignment and then discusses reasons for pelvic floor issues. This lasts about 3 minutes, and then you lie on your stomach for the first assessment exercise. Katy explains how to find a neutral pelvis, and then she has you extend your legs up (one at a time) like you’re walking. This should reveal how aligned you are, as well as show whether you use your lumbar spine when walking (an alignment "no no"). For assessment exercise number 2, you lie on your back with your knees bent and then lift your glutes off the floor using hamstring/foot strength only (sort of like a low bridge in yoga). From this position, Katy has you alternate lifting one foot off the floor while trying to keep your hips level; if your hips list to one side, you need to work on muscle strength. Do this again with your elbows up; Katy says this is more challenging (and the class seemed to agree). You then repeat both assessment exercises to practice what you’ve learned. The class ends with a final, short adductor stretch/savasana while Katy gives a brief recap of the alignment information presented.
At the end of the session, there is some “bonus” material relating to the armpit (which Katy calls the “egg hole”). This part lasts 4-5 minutes, and Katy discusses what having (or not having) a well-defined armpit means and how to get rid of waste accumulation in that area. It’s filmed in black and white and looks like it was taken from a different class. I thought it was interesting, but rather random!
Equipment used: a mat and a half dome or block
Things to Consider
The purpose of this session isn’t to work out. It’s to provide alignment information and then put it into practice through motion. So if you’re looking for a strengthening or stretching workout -- or a quick fix for pelvic floor problems, you’ll likely be disappointed with this one.
From my perspective, I think the Alignment Snacks can be hit or miss. Most of the ones I’ve done were good. Some were great. This one… not so much. I wasn’t sure how the assessment exercises related to the pelvic floor, exactly, and there wasn’t much stretching. On the positive side, though, I discovered that I’m pretty well aligned already and I have good hip strength. So that’s something. I hope this one works better for others! If I’ve learned one thing from VF, it’s that someone always has a different experience than I do. :)
Katy presents the information clearly. She also makes a few jokes which the class doesn’t laugh at (for a change).