The Pelvic Floor & Lower Dantian
The pelvic floor is muscular, hammock-like mesh which attaches to the sitz bones (ischia), the pubis, the sacrum, and tailbone (coccyx). It has wider reaching connections up into the spine and down the legs.
It provides a flexible floor of support to the abdomen and the torso when upright and contributes to breathing, digestion, sexual function, posture and diaphragm movement. Below is a view from above showing primary muscles of the pelvic floor and the pelvic bones.
Habitual tension in the pelvic floor may be felt as emotional arousal, defensiveness, anxiety, fortitude, core strength, or constriction. Awareness of the pelvic floor improves breathing ability, digestion, sexual response, hip and back flexibility. The primary muscles of the pelvic floor can be activated consciously, and the right/left sides can also be engaged separately.
Moshé Feldenkrais worked with this area in many of his lessons that balance breathing or balance the weight of the pelvis. His perspective on this area was influenced by his background in Judo. In many east Asian martial arts, the lower abdomen is sometimes considered equivalent to the lower of the three dantian (also tanden - Japanese). This area, translated in traditional Chinese medicine as the 'Sea of Qi,' is a few inches below and behind the navel.
Feldenkrais Method® teacher and trainer Deborah Bowes has also developed many lessons which bring attention to the pelvic floor and its role in breathing, sexual health, and other human functions. Lessons which do not directly address the pelvic floor can also be explored with this underlying component and supported by our awareness of its role.