321: Accessible Yoga & Pelvic Health with Jivana Heyman

Why is pelvic health important and how can we make it more accessible in our yoga classes? In this episode, which first aired on the Accessible Yoga Podcast hosted by Jivana Heyman, Shannon Crow appears as the special guest to talk about pelvic health and making it accessible.

Jivana Heyman is the founder and director of the Accessible Yoga Association, an international non-profit organization devoted to making yoga teachings more accessible. He is also the author of Yoga Revolution: Building a Practice of Courage & Compassion and Accessible Yoga: Poses & Practices for Every Body.

Jivana and Shannon kick off this episode by discussing their shared love for supporting and connecting yoga teachers to each other and to information and their messy process of learning. Shannon then shares more about why she started Pelvic Health Professionals, the role of gendered language in discussing pelvic health, and how it plays a part in yoga. They also discuss trauma, fear–based language vs clear contraindications, what it really means to engage the pelvic floor, the core, and the difference between weak and relaxed pelvic floor. Tune in to learn more about how to share about this important topic with your students in a way that is accessible to all!

Key Takeaways:

[1:39] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Jivana Heyman. This podcast episode was originally recorded for the Accessible Yoga podcast.

[4:18] Jivana introduces Shannon and she tells listeners a little more about herself.

[8:26] Being open to new information and learning is so important, and it can be a messy process.

“Every single human is walking around with a pelvis, with a pelvic floor.” ~ Shannon Crow 

[10:36] Shannon invites experts in pelvic health to share information with other professionals. Is she intimidated by the expertise others bring to the table in her membership community?

[13:09] Pelvic health is often seen as a gendered topic that applies more to cis-gender women or people who are giving birth.

[14:49] How does Shannon help the people she works with connect with their pelvic floor without gendered language?

[16:37] Jivana voices his frustration that there are a lot of gender assumptions in yoga spaces as well.

[20:14] If you are keen to learn more about gendered language, Shannon has a coupon code for you.

[21:08] What could it look like if yoga teachers started exploring how to remove gendered language from their classes?

[23:20] Jivana and Shannon discuss how anatomical terms should be used in trauma-informed teaching.

“I think it’s really important that we start to talk about pelvic health and take out the gendered language.” ~ Shannon Crow

[26:13] Shannon gives a shout out of thanks to sponsors, OfferingTree and Pelvic Health Professionals.

[28:10] What are some specific things yoga teachers could be saying to help yoga students understand more about pelvic health within the context of a yoga class?

[31:27] Jivana highlights contraindications in yoga and the pushback against that in the yoga community. Shannon offers some tips on how to avoid fear-based language.

“We all need to be more conscious with our words, especially if you’re in the position of teacher or any kind of authority.” ~ Jivana Heyman

[38:36] Shannon shares how she provides yoga cues without using fear-based language. 

[41:41] It’s common for yoga teachers to cue engagement of the pelvic floor or core. Shannon explains why this may not be a useful cue and how to cue this engagement instead.

[47:05] What is the connection between the breath and the pelvic floor?

[51:30] Being aware and staying within your scope of practice as a yoga teacher is very important.

“We forget sometimes that if you’re calling yourself a teacher, then your job is to educate.” ~ Jivana Heyman

[53:38] Shannon shares some final thoughts around being subtle in your practice and questioning everything we come across.

[60:00] Have more questions about pelvic health? Send Shannon an email or a voice note, or join Pelvic Health Professionals to learn from experts!


Gratitude to our Sponsors, OfferingTree and Pelvic Health Professionals.

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