What’s Up Down There?

What's Up Down There?This is the first book that I’ve read for project mulabloga: What’s Up Down There? by Lissa Rankin, M.D.

The base of the pelvis isn’t just a scientific landmark. It is also a wellspring of sensation and associations.

Back when I was a beginner at Ashtanga yoga (about 11 years ago), I remember a male teacher correcting my posture in Janu Sirsasana B (pictured below). I had gotten into the habit of ignoring the instructions about sitting on the heel. Apparently, I decided that I didn’t do that part. Not that it was a totally conscious decision or anything. Actually I remember trying it for a second when the teacher was explaining what to do, and then backing out again to sit on the floor as we held the pose.

Janu Sirsasana B

This picture reminds me of how I felt in the pose. It is really very intense.

So anyway, the teacher came over to me and looked me in the eye and guided me to lift up my bum and sit on the heel. I lifted my vagina up and over the heel and sat. It just felt so strange! I looked up at my teacher to make sure that this was really what I should be doing.

Actually the strangest memory just broke through as I was writing that. I remembered a relative telling me (when I was a kid and sitting on my foot) that blind girls would sometimes sit on their heels to secretly masturbate—I am not kidding! So maybe that’s why I felt so weird about that pose! Like I was afraid that I might secretly masturbate, or something. Geez.

I remember shrinking back from the sensation of the heel sinking into my flesh “down there” and when I got the “okay” from my teacher I hardened myself to the experience. Numbed myself to it and sort of resigned myself to the fact that this is how I should be positioned in the pose.

So when a person is stuck in a negative association with the underside of the pelvis, where we sit, there might be resistance to really feeling what is going on “down there”. This is why I chose to read the book, What’s Up Down There? I wanted to work on demystifying my own pelvic floor. It can be hard to separate from the gender associations of this part of the body, and I don’t really think that we should.

I also wrote a fun-filled review of this book with additional ponderings at Elephant Journal.

Thanks for reading. I didn’t know this one was going to be so intense…

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6 Responses to What’s Up Down There?

  1. TreeLuvr87 says:

    Thanks, Brooke. I loved your humorous article over at The
    Elephant, but this one touched my spirit. Thanks for being so open
    about the memory you had. It’s so strange what we can discover when
    we really take the time to look deeply!

  2. Pingback: Yieldin’ Healin’ | mulabloga

  3. Lyndi says:

    Hi, I am excited that I found your blog and can’t wait to
    see where this journey takes you. This is an area that interest me
    as well. Here are some of the books I bought to learn more about
    the pelvic floor that I am slowly reading. Pelvic Power by Eric
    Franklin The Female Pelvis by Blandine Calais -German (this is my
    favorite) The V Book by Elizabeth Steward Heal Pelvic Pain by Amy
    Stein You might want to check out Leslie Howard’s website. She is a
    yoga teacher who focused on the pelvic floor.
    http://www.lesliehowardyoga.com/ I went to a workshop she did in
    Tucson last year which was wonderful.

  4. Brooks, I am always struck by the awesomeness of your
    honesty. It’s beautiful.

  5. amazing what sticks with us from casual comments others make when we are children (or adults)… and so difficult to separate from that stickiness too.

  6. Ah Ha! The origin of the Kundalini! My books and website are dedicated to making sex a “legitimate” part of being human. Even western gurus take a cookie cutter to our genitalia then say, “Get centered.” Duh!

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