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  • Guilt: the mother of all emotions

    Welcome to our blog takeover to kick off 2022 with #dancemama Imogen Aujla PhD, Dance Psychology Lecturer, Researcher and Life Coach, danceinmind.org Motherhood can be an emotional rollercoaster sometimes. Our feelings can be so much more intense than before we had children: joy like we’ve never experienced; a love so fierce and primal it’s hard to put into words; pride that makes us literally want to burst (and, let’s face it, new levels of frustration, rage and exhaustion). But we also get the emotional bonus prize that nobody wants: guilt. Lots and lots of guilt, about anything and everything. In recent years it has become fashionable to describe guilt as a useless emotion, but I don’t subscribe to this idea. Guilt does have a role to play, because fundamentally we feel guilty when we have done something wrong, and making things right can be important for our learning and development. The issue is that we sometimes feel guilt when in reality we haven’t actually done anything wrong, and that is often the case with ‘mum guilt’. What is guilt? Guilt is a negative emotional state that occurs when we have done something we believe to be wrong: caused physical or emotional harm to someone else, or broken some personal ethical or moral rules. It can prompt us to review and reflect on our actions and seek ways to make amends. From this perspective, guilt is useful: it helps with self-awareness, holds us accountable for our actions, and encourages us to develop more pro-social behaviours. And, of course, making amends can mean a huge amount to those people we have hurt, and may be necessary in order to repair relationships with them. You need to try and be kinder to yourself when situations are outside of your control But there are two problems: firstly, when we ruminate on our guilt and struggle to move past it, even when we have attempted to fix the problem. In this instance the guilt becomes counter-productive and self-limiting. Secondly, sometimes we think we have done something wrong, but we are unable to fix the problem because there actually is no problem! The unique challenges of ‘mum guilt’ I’m sure dads feel guilty too, but mums often seem to be shouldered with the ‘mum guilt’ burden. As mums we tend to hold ourselves to unrealistically high parenting standards and subsequently end up feeling guilty about anything and everything, including but not limited to: - Our birth experience - Breastfeeding, bottle feeding, or combination feeding - Going back to work - Not going back to work - Feeding our baby or toddler shop-bought pouches and jars - Feeding our baby or toddler family meal leftovers - Going out or away without our children - Negative feelings towards our children - Screen time - Needing time or space away from our children - Not playing enough with our children - Not doing enough ‘developmental activities’ with our children - Not always being present with our children - Shouting or snapping at our children - Not being able to afford the toys, clothes, etc. we would like for our children - Giving too many toys, clothes, etc. to our children and worrying we are spoiling them - And on. And on. And on! You may notice that there are several contradictory items on this list: you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Many of these examples represent things we think we have done wrong, or that we should feel guilty about. But our thoughts are not facts, so we need to try and be more objective when dealing with our guilt. So how do we do it – how can we move past the guilt when it isn’t valid, and how can we learn from it when it is? Guilt about things which are outside of our control When you are feeling guilty about something, the first thing to consider is the extent to which what happened was due to your own thoughts and actions, and the extent to which what happened was beyond your control. Perhaps you had a difficult birth and were not able to do skin-to-skin in the early days as you had hoped. You may have read about the importance of skin-to-skin and feel guilty that you did not have that experience with your baby. This is a difficult situation and one which may have taken a physical and psychological toll on you. But how much control did you have in this situation? For example, did a necessary medical intervention prevent you from holding your baby immediately? Is there anything you could have done differently if you could turn back the clock? I’m guessing not – labour and birth rarely follow our carefully considered plans, so the guilt in this situation is doing you a disservice. There are also so many other ways to bond with your baby as they grow. As a mother who works in the dance industry, there’s a good chance that your job is part of your identity and may be a huge source of fulfilment and satisfaction for you. You need to try and be kinder to yourself when situations are outside of your control, because there is nothing you can do to change them – and, therefore, no reason to feel guilty. It’s not always as simple as this, I realise, and you may find yourself ruminating on the situation. To try and stop the negative cycle of thoughts, have a go at a though diary. A popular technique in CBT, thought diaries help you to gain some distance between your thoughts and feelings, to examine the evidence for and against the guilty thought, and to see things from a different perspective. Do a thought diary as often as you need to, whenever you feel guilty about something that is outside of your control, or that you know deep down you don’t really need to feel guilty about. You can find one here. Over time you should find that you are better able to distinguish thoughts from facts and diminish overwhelming feelings of guilt or rumination over these types of situation. Guilt about our choices Let’s think about another common source of guilt: returning back to work after maternity leave. This can be really hard. I found the guilt of returning to work (even after having switched to part-time, flexible working) almost unbearable after I had my first child. It was slightly easier after I had my second, but still difficult. If we return to work after having a baby, it tends to be for a variety of reasons. Maybe we have to, for financial reasons. Returning to work is a necessity, a non-negotiable, so again be kind to yourself because there is no reason to feel guilty here. You may find thought diaries useful in this situation too. When we return to work because we want to rather than have to, we may experience more internal conflict between our love for our child and our need to be engaged in work. As a mother who works in the dance industry, there’s a good chance that your job is part of your identity and may be a huge source of fulfilment and satisfaction for you. This can be tricky, because you may feel selfish for wanting to spend time away from your children so that you can nourish this other part of your identity. But it isn’t selfish: if it will make you happier then you will be a better mum. It’s as simple as that. If you have made the decision to return to work because you want to, be confident in that choice. You love your child and you love your job, and nobody is asking you to choose between the two! Also, remind yourself that feeling guilty after a bad drop-off at nursery is natural, but ultimately won’t help your child (although having a good cry in the car park may help you, so let it out!). Be kind to yourself. Feeling guilty after returning to work is completely natural, but it isn’t entirely without its uses. What can we learn from guilt in this scenario? Perhaps it prompts us to be more present when we are with our children, to make the most of the time. It may also help us to create stricter boundaries between work and home than we had before, which is good for everyone. Guilt about our behaviour A final example of guilt is another common one: shouting at your child. Of course, there are times when this is absolutely warranted – when they’re hurtling headfirst towards a busy road, for instance – but often we shout at our children over relatively small things when they have pushed enough buttons, or when we are stressed, sleep-deprived or under pressure, and we know in our hearts that we are reacting disproportionately to what has happened. Firstly, treat yourself with compassion and kindness. Everybody shouts, everybody loses control, and you are only human. Don’t tell yourself you are a “bad parent” because you had a bad moment. Having said that, this is one example where guilt is well and truly helpful. What can you learn from this situation? What might you do differently next time? What steps might you need to take to stop this from happening again? Let’s say you need to get to work but your child has decided that they really don’t want to put their shoes on, thank you very much, and would much rather run around the house singing at the top of their voice than go to pre-school. You are under time pressure and feeling out of control of the situation. Will shouting really create the desired behaviour from your child, or prompt her to act up even more? If you do snap and shout, how will you both feel afterwards? In this scenario, the guilt is probably warranted: yes, you are under time pressure, but if you weren’t, your child’s actions would be less likely to result in “mummy’s angry voice”. So you can certainly learn from this. Think to yourself: what could you do instead of shouting? You may come up with a range of ideas: get up earlier; make a game out of getting ready; set a timer for leaving the house; pretend it’s a race to see who can get their shoes on first. How might this change the situation for the better? How will you both feel afterwards? Oh, and do apologise to your child if you have treated them unfairly. Even though you’re the grown-up and you’re in charge, you still need to show that you’re fallible and make amends. Finding the good in the guilt Next time you feel guilty about something, ask yourself the following questions: is this situation within or outside of my control? Do I need to take a step back and examine my guilty thoughts and their accuracy? Is feeling guilty helpful in this situation or unhelpful? Can I learn something from the guilt, change my behaviour or make amends? Can I do this while also treating myself with kindness and compassion? See if you can either move past unhelpful guilty thoughts, or find the good in the guilt, and be proud of yourself for making positive changes. For more articles from Imogen, online courses, worksheets, and more, visit danceinmind.org

  • Are you breathing correctly?

    Part of our guest blog take over with Niamh Morrin, Baby and I@babyandi.herts Is there a correct way to breathe? Surely if air is entering and exiting then that’s all we need to worry about? Well – yes for sustaining life – but maybe not for aiding optimal function of the musculoskeletal system! Can we assume all postnatal dancers have a disrupted breathing pattern? Yes, most probably! Good breathing patterns are our foundation – they affect our entire body. Our diaphragm, pelvic floor and core muscles should move together with each breath – the co-ordination of these muscles is essential in regulating intra-abdominal pressure – poor pressure management within our core canister can lead to pressure leaking out of a “weak area” – leading to the risk of hernias, prolapse and a persisting diastasis recti. In addition, poor breathing patterns can lead to excessive holding of tension in our pelvic floor, core and neck and shoulders. Tension holding is not a sign of strength and will eventually lead to a weakening of a muscle as it is not being stimulated correctly. Pregnancy can alter and disrupt optimal breathing patterns. During pregnancy the rib cage widens and the diaphragm gets pushed up (LoMauro and Aliverti, 2005) – the diaphragm struggles to contract and flatten and rib cage movement reduces – this make it difficult to get a deep inhale or exhale. These changes can throw us into shallow breathing pattern (all neck and shoulders) or belly breathing (where the inhale pushes the belly out). Can we assume all postnatal dancers have a disrupted breathing pattern? Yes, most probably! And as a side note, I haven’t worked with one dancer, young or old, male or female, prenatal or postnatal with a good breathing pattern! This begs the question – do dancers have poor breathing patterns? To be honest, I can’t answer that with any scientific back up, but in my experience, neck and upper abdominal tension is a very common “habit” in dancers. I believe every dancer needs training in correct breathing patterns. I’m pregnant/postnatal – why care about my breathing? If we don’t re-establish and train correct breathing mechanics, we will miss out on strengthening and connecting with our core and pelvic floor in a natural way. A correct breathing pattern should naturally lengthen (inhale) and contract (exhale) our entire pelvic floor and abdominal wall. When diastasis recti, weakened abdominal and pelvic floor dysfunction are almost part and parcel of the maternal journey, correct breathing will be the first step in retraining your system correctly. Re-establishing correct breathing Correct breathing is not as simple as letting your belly rise and fall (this actually shows pressure leaking of a weakened area). Read the 4 steps below to see how you can improve your breathing pattern and work your core and pelvic floor correctly. #1 – Develop an awareness of your breath Position yourself in a comfortable kneeling position with attention to posture, shoulders over pelvis and pelvis in neutral (Figure 2). Wrap your fingers around each side of your rib cage (fingers on the front, thumb wrapped around to the back). Take a 5 second inhale and exhale. What happened on the inhale? 1) Did your neck get tense? 2) Did your shoulders move up? 3) Did your tummy expand? 4) Did you widen and lengthen your lateral abdominal muscles? 5) Did your rib cage expand in 360 degrees? (i.e. did it widen, expand out to the front and out to the back) 6) Did you notice any movement in your pelvic floor? #2 – Let’s get your ribs expanding in 360 degrees Now repeat your inhale and exhale and let’s get your ribs expanding in 360 degrees. Wrap your fingers around each side of your rib cage. On the inhale concentrate on keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed and instead “blow your rib cage up”! It should expand out to the side, front and back. To help with rib expansion we need good eccentric length in our lateral abdominal muscles (transverse abdominals and obliques). If you lack this strength you will notice very little expansion of the rib cage and your tummy will expand out (belly breathing!). To practice lateral expansion of the abdominals, drop your fingers down so they rest on your sides and under your rib cage. Breath into your fingers – you should feel your sides expand out into your fingers. Your tummy will expand a little but not a lot! Missing out on good rib expansion and eccentric lengthening in our lateral abdominal muscles will essentially mean we are missing out on a good opportunity to use our core muscles effectively. A muscle must first lengthen to get a good contraction; this is why dancers work their plie before they take off from the ground – this will give them better jump height because the calf muscles have been lengthened first. If we take this principle to the core we need to ensure that our breathing allows our core muscles to lengthen before they contract. In a nutshell, good rib expansion and lengthening of the core muscles gives opportunity for the muscles to contract well – thus providing lots of lumbopelvic stability. This is especially important when you are dancing – if your breathing patterns aren’t allowing good lengthening and therefore good contracting, then you will never be able to sustain correct core tension when performing exercises that require lumbopelvic stability! Video 1: Exercise to assist with rib mobility #3 Time to take note of your pelvic floor If you are starting to find good movement in your ribs and lateral abdominals then focus now on allowing your pelvic floor to relax and spread on the inhale. As you exhale you should notice a natural contraction or recoil. #4 The exhale If the inhale has done its job at lengthening the abdominals and pelvic floor then they are in a perfect position to naturally recoil (at rest) or contract more fully if required for exertion (i.e. dance, general exercise, lifting kids!). On the exhale allow your pelvic floor to gather together and lift whilst concentrating on contracting your tummy muscles evenly –contraction of your abdominal should start at your lower transverse abdominals (as low as hip bones and pubic bone) all the way up to your ribs. In a nutshell Co-ordinating the movement of your ribs, lateral abdominals and pelvic floor on your inhale and exhale will be key to retraining the muscles of your core and pelvic floor whilst teaching them to contract effectively for optimal function. If you are postnatal and are looking to retrain your core, heal diastasis recti, address pelvic floor dysfunction, improve overall strength for return to dance or even address pain and discomfort breathing patterns should be addressed first and foremost. Reference LoMauro A, Aliverti A. Respiratory physiology of pregnancy: Physiology masterclass. Breathe (Sheff). 2015 Dec;11(4):297-301. doi: 10.1183/20734735.008615. PMID: 27066123; PMCID: PMC4818213. Also see Niamh's other blogs on Diastasis Recti and Pelvic Floor

  • Your Pelvic floor: is it taking the hit?

    Part of our new blog take over from Niamh Morrin, Baby and I@babyandi.herts Introduction Although the pelvic floor can be troublesome for anyone no matter their age or sex it can become a particularly troublesome part of the body for athletic females (Rebuildo, Faigenbaum and Chulvi-Medrana, 2021), dancers (Thyssen et al. 2002) and maternal women (Faubion et al. 2012). Evidence suggests that female athletes are three times more likely to experience pelvic floor dysfunction as compared to their male counterparts – throw the pre and postnatal journey on top of that; the maternal female dancer, is most certainly at risk of encountering pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD). The pelvic floor can be particularly vulnerable during the journey to motherhood. Reasons that pregnancy and childbirth can influence pelvic floor function include: 1) A growing bump and widening pelvis will put stress and strain onto the pelvic floor muscles. 2) A long pushing phase or experiencing a tear can directly affect pelvic floor function 3) The overall postural changes and muscle imbalances that can occur during pregnancy can affect the function of the pelvic floor. Pelvic floor dysfunction is NOT normal and should not be brushed under the carpet as a postnatal issue that’s part and parcel of becoming a mum. Understanding the basic anatomy and function of pelvic floor, training it in the right way and getting support if needed should be part of every female dancers pre and postnatal journey. What’s frustrating, is that despite its very important functions, the pelvic floor isn’t an area of our body that we can readily see or even feel entirely comfortable talking about. Important functions include: 1) Spine and pelvis stability and support 2) Breathing and posture 3) Pelvic organ support 4) Continence (Urinary and faecal) 5) Sexual activity Anatomy Basics The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that together form a hammock at the base of the pelvis (Figure 1). If we were able to look down into the bowl of our pelvis (Figure 1) we would see that the pelvic floor muscles span the entire pelvis cavity – muscles attach to the pubic bone at the front, the coccyx and sacrum at the back and the ischial tuberosities/sitz bones at the sides. There are a number of muscles that make up the entire pelvic floor, some superficial and some deep. The superficial muscles provide the squeeze which help with continence and the deep layer supports our pelvic organs (bladder, bowel, uterus). There is also a right and left side and a front and back to the pelvic floor. The right or left side can function or become dysfunctional independent of the other side, the same goes for the front and back and deep and superficial layers. In theory when contracting our pelvic floor we want our pelvic floor muscles to fire as a cohesive unit – just like our primary core muscles (internal and external obliques, transverse abdominus and rectus abdominal muscles). Also, similar to our core muscles, whilst we can consciously contract them, the pelvic floor should fire automatically to provide stability to the pelvis during movement. Signs of dysfunction Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) is a non-specific term that can encompass a wide variety of conditions. If a pre or postnatal dancer is experiencing PFD they might notice one or more of the following symptoms. Urinary or faecal leakage; this could occur with jumps, coughing, sneezing, or lifting (stress incontinence) Experiencing a very strong and uncontrollable urge to go (urge incontinence). Pelvic pressure or the sensation of something falling out of your vagina Urinary or bowel frequency/urgency (Having to “go” more often than every 2-4 hours during the day or getting up more than once in the night Pain with urination or bowel movements Incomplete bladder emptying (having to “go” again or dribbling a few minutes after urinating) Pelvic pain (pain in the pelvic floor, lower abdominal, coccyx, pelvic region including urethral, bladder and anal pain) Constipation Painful menstruation Painful intercourse Training the pelvic floor Kegals – what are they and do they help? A kegal or pelvic floor contraction is an exercise that isolates and contracts the pelvic floor muscles. A bit like a bicep curl – the exercise is targeting one specific area of the body. The idea of a kegal is to get someone to connect with their pelvic floor muscles and increase muscle volume and strength. Different versions of the kegal are designed to increase the responsiveness (i.e. exercises would include quick contractions and relaxations) and endurance of the pelvic floor (i.e. exercises would include holding a contraction for a period of time like 10 seconds). Kegals are often thrown around as the solution to all pelvic floor dysfunction – the reality is that it will usually only be effective if the pelvic floor is hypotonic and lacks muscular tone. Sometimes Kegals quite simply might not help the PFD or in some cases (for example when the pelvic floor is tight or hypertonic) they might be making the issue worse. This is where the pelvic floor issue is NOT a pelvic floor issue and the pelvic floor is simply taking the hit for an issue somewhere else in the body. Because the lower extremity, hip, abdomen, pelvis, and spine are a connected kinetic chain, any dysfunction along this chain may cause overcompensation and dysfunction of other associated muscles, including the pelvic floor (Fabion et al. 2012). Some of the major contributors of pelvic floor dysfunction might include 1. Incorrect response to increases in intra-abdominal pressure 2. Hip muscle imbalance 3. Function and strength of external rotators / turnout muscles Incorrect response to increases in intra-abdominal pressure. When it comes to PFD we often need to retrain the natural function of the pelvic floor (Zivkovic et al. 2012). With each inhale the pelvic floor should relax and spread and with each exhale the pelvic floor should gather and contract (Bartelink, 1952). The pelvic floor, should, in theory work in synchrony with the respiratory diaphragm and the muscles within the abdominal cavity (Figure 2). Training the co-ordination of this is essential for good pelvic floor function. Without training this natural synchrony we might hold a constant level of tension or tone in the pelvic floor – our inhales might not be accompanied by a relaxation or lengthening of the pelvic floor. Holding tension in a muscle will introduce fatigue, hypertonicity (tightness), weakness and ultimately poor function. Another consequence of poor synchrony is that an exhale, in particular a forced exhale (i.e. during a cough or laugh) which rapidly increases intra-abdominal pressure could cause a bearing down on the pelvic floor, instead of it gathering and contracting. This puts the dancer at risk of stress incontinence (i.e. leaking) or pelvic organ prolapse. Training good synchrony in breathing patterns is essential so that when it comes to effort we can increase abdominal pressure without pelvic floor failure. Dance can be a high impact, high intensity activity and dancers need to put effort into movement – they need to leap, jump, pirouette, run, lift and transition in and out of the floor. Dancers are therefore constantly increasing intra-abdominal pressure in response to effort – having good natural function of the pelvic floor means that it will be ready to gather and contract during these moments of increased effort. Hip muscle weakness / muscle imbalance The hip muscles are often used as a window into the pelvic floor. Hip muscles include the adductors, the hip flexors and extensors and the internal and external rotators (Figure 3). Many of these muscles have been found to work synergistically with the pelvic floor (Halski et al. 2017). They work together to provide pelvic stability. Imbalances and weaknesses within the hip complex can therefore contribute to changes in the orientation of the pelvis and the musculoskeletal balance of the hip, this can therefore directly affect the function of the pelvic floor muscles. Specifically, research findings have revealed a relationship between pelvic floor tightness, dysfunction and abnormal pelvic alignment (Tu, Holt, Gonzales and Fitzgerald, 2008). In addition, research has shown that hip muscle strengthening benefited the pelvic floor in individuals with stress urinary incontinence (Marques et al. 2020). Function and strength of external rotators / turnout muscles When it comes to dancers, a very important consideration in the hip and pelvic floor relationship are the hip external rotators. The obturator internus, a turnout muscle is a pelvic floor muscle and the remaining external rotators are fascially connected to it – the dancers’ turnout muscles are their pelvic floor and therefore the function of these muscles are directly important for good pelvic floor function (Tuttle et al. 2020, Baba et al. 2014). Foster and colleagues (2021) found weaker hip external rotators and abductors in women with increased urinary urgency and frequency (signs of pelvic floor tightness). But can we not assume that all dancers who use turnout have strong, functioning external rotators?Personally I’m not convinced and research has recently found that many dancers rely on floor friction to hold external rotation (Duncan et al. 2020) – this finding suggests that the function and strength of these muscles might not be what we need it to be and better training and understanding of the external rotators themselves is required. For good functioning external rotators (ones that can contract and relax) we need correct positioning of the hip socket, good pelvic alignment and balanced strength between the internal and external rotators – these very specific things can be altered during pregnancy and therefore might need attention postnatally – especially if PFD is present. If a postnatal dancer, with PFD is suddenly (or has always been) more comfortable standing in external rotation – the chances are that their external rotators and therefore their pelvic floor could be overworked, tight and weakened. Organising the strength and balance within the hip will be an important factor in improving pelvic floor function. Getting support Pelvic floor dysfunction is NOT normal and should not be brushed under the carpet as a postnatal issue that’s part and parcel of becoming a mum. Pelvic health physiotherapist A pelvic health physiotherapist is best placed to provide you with a clear picture of why you might be experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction. Through internal examination, they can gain a full understanding of your pelvic floor and what is and isn’t functioning as it should. Understanding whether it’s a prescribed programme of kegals that is required or whether the problem could be stemming from another part of your kinetic chain is key. Pelvic health physiotherapists can also administer manual therapy (trigger point massage and myofascial release) to the pelvic floor – this is a very effective treatment for a hypertonic (tight) pelvic floor (Faubion et al. 2012). Postnatal corrective exercise specialist A postnatal corrective exercise specialist is well placed to train the function, strength and balance of your body whilst considering and integrating the correct function of the pelvic floor. Whilst returning to dance and intense physical activity it is key to understand, train and strengthen the body in a way that targets the postural changes and muscles weaknesses that can occur during pregnancy and ultimately affect the function of the pelvic floor. ____ Want to be pro-active at re-entering the dance workspace after birth? Sign up for Dance Mama Live! - our flagship professional development membership programme - and get 30% off our specialist dance class programme for dancing parents, suitable for general and professional levels (code will be sent with your Welcome Pack). References Baba T, Homma Y, Takazawa N, Kobayashi H, Matsumoto M, Aritomi K, Yuasa T, Kaneko K. Is urinary incontinence the hidden secret complications after total hip arthroplasty? Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol. 2014 Dec;24(8):1455-60. doi: 10.1007/s00590-014-1413-4. Epub 2014 Jan 10. PMID: 24408744. Bartelink DL. The role of abdominal pressure in relieving the pressure on the lumbar intervertebral discs. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1957 Nov;39-B(4):718-25. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.39B4.718. PMID: 13491636. Duncan R, Wild C, Ng L, Hendry D, Carter S, Hopper L, Campbell A. Dancers' Joint Strategies for Achieving Turnout in Low and High Friction Conditions. Med Probl Perform Art. 2020 Jun;35(2):96-102. doi: 10.21091/mppa.2020.2015. PMID: 32479585. Faubion SS, Shuster LT, Bharucha AE. Recognition and management of nonrelaxing pelvic floor dysfunction. Mayo Clin Proc. 2012 Feb;87(2):187-93. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2011.09.004. PMID: 22305030; PMCID: PMC3498251. Foster SN, Spitznagle TM, Tuttle LJ, Sutcliffe S, Steger-May K, Lowder JL, Meister MR, Ghetti C, Wang J, Mueller MJ, Harris-Hayes M. Hip and Pelvic Floor Muscle Strength in Women with and without Urgency and Frequency Predominant Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms. J Womens Health Phys Therap. 2021 Jul-Sep;45(3):126-134. doi: 10.1097/jwh.0000000000000209. PMID: 34366727; PMCID: PMC8345818. Halski T, Ptaszkowski K, Słupska L, Dymarek R, Paprocka-Borowicz M. Relationship between lower limb position and pelvic floor muscle surface electromyography activity in menopausal women: a prospective observational study. Clin Interv Aging. 2017 Jan 4;12:75-83. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S121467. PMID: 28115836; PMCID: PMC5221554. Marques SAA, Silveira SRBD, Pássaro AC, Haddad JM, Baracat EC, Ferreira EAG. Effect of Pelvic Floor and Hip Muscle Strengthening in the Treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence: A Randomized Clinical Trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2020 Mar-Apr;43(3):247-256. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2019.01.007. Epub 2020 Jul 21. PMID: 32703614. Rebullido TR, Gómez-Tomás C, Faigenbaum AD, Chulvi-Medrano I. The Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence among Adolescent Female Athletes: A Systematic Review. J Funct Morphol Kinesiol. 2021 Jan 28;6(1):12. doi: 10.3390/jfmk6010012. PMID: 33525502; PMCID: PMC7931053. Thyssen HH, Clevin L, Olesen S, Lose G. Urinary incontinence in elite female athletes and dancers. Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct. 2002;13(1):15-7. doi: 10.1007/s001920200003. PMID: 11999199. Tu FF, Holt J, Gonzales J, Fitzgerald CM. Physical therapy evaluation of patients with chronic pelvic pain: a controlled study. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Mar;198(3):272.e1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2007.09.002. PMID: 18313447. Tuttle LJ, Autry T, Kemp C, Lassaga-Bishop M, Mettenleiter M, Shetter H, Zukowski J. Hip exercises improve intravaginal squeeze pressure in older women. Physiother Theory Pract. 2020 Dec;36(12):1340-1347. doi: 10.1080/09593985.2019.1571142. Epub 2019 Feb 1. PMID: 30704364. Zivkovic V, Lazovic M, Vlajkovic M, Slavkovic A, Dimitrijevic L, Stankovic I, Vacic N. Diaphragmatic breathing exercises and pelvic floor retraining in children with dysfunctional voiding. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2012 Sep;48(3):413-21. Epub 2012 Jun 5. PMID: 22669134.

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    Kick-off 2022 with us! READ BLOG INFO & JOIN DANCE MAMA LIVE! Welcome! How can I help you? Stay connected - join our mailing list Subscribe Now STORIES Be Inspired Our unique collection of 60+ stories from Dance Mamas across the industry and beyond. Read or listen... LEARN Be Involved Flagship online programme for Professional Dance Parents, short courses & one-off workshops MENTOR MAMA Be Motivated One-to-one, group and organisational mentoring sessions... BLOG Be In The Know Straight from the horse's mouth, follow Dance Mama Founder, Lucy's and team's adventures RESOURCES Be Informed Sign-posting you to the latest information and people who can support you in dance, the arts and activity Community Be Connected Join our community of dancing families to share, connect and be inspired TRAIN ONLINE

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    #stayinworkout Specialist Live Classes GENERAL LEVEL PRO LEVEL For parents working in dance PRO CLASS ​ ​ Part of Dance Mama’s new live online class programme, Pre/Postnatal Dance Class - Pro Level is a pioneering, dance session specifically designed to support parents who work professionally in the dance sector. The classes draw on Ballet & Cunningham techniques. ​ 5-week course, Wednesdays, starting 12th January to 9th February 2022 inclusive, 10.30am - 11.45am, £45 (discount for Dance Mama Live! Participants - £30) ​ This fun and uplifting dance session is led by Dance Artist and Mum, Lucy Balfour (Rambert, Royal New Zealand Ballet) who will mindful guide you through a hybrid of ballet and Cunningham-based technique class designed with the maternal individual front and centre. ​ Lucy will lead you through a grounding technical class that will give you the opportunity to explore alignment, posture and musicality, giving you the opportunity to move and be expressive and importantly, give you time to connect to yourself and your art form. ​ ​ BOOKING NOW ENDED - NOTIFY ME Screen Shot 2021-09-22 at 13.57.48 BKG Tweet PRO CLASS TESTIMONIES DML - Strand 2 Image (2) Screen Shot 2021-09-22 at 13.57.48 BKG Tweet 1/4 For parents who like dancing GENERAL LEVEL​ ​ Part of Dance Mama’s new live online class programme, Dancing Towards Connection is a pioneering, dance session specifically designed to support postnatal parents. The sessions include a dance workshop and social time. ​ Currently on a break! ​ Usually, this 4-week block includes: 10 - 11am - A fun an uplifting dance session renowned professional Dance Mama ofMum of two, Laura Harvey . After a gentle warm-up, Laura will lead you through some tasks to give you the opportunity to be move and be creative and importantly, to give you time to connect to yourself. ​ 11 – 11.10am - Comfort break ​ 11.10 - 11.30am – Cuppa and chat! Time to talk with other parents in the session about all things dancey and parenty. ​ ON A BREAK - NOTIFY ME GEN CLASS TESTIMONIES DML - Strand 2 Image (2) GEN CLASS TESTIMONIES 1/2 Replays Dance on your own schedule ​ Whilst nothing beats the thrill of being in a live class, the timings don't always work out. Here's a taster of the replays we offer on Dance Mama Live! ​ Disclaimer: Remember to consult with your medical team before undertaking any exercise programme, and particularly new mums should not be undertaking any exercise before passing their 6-week check with their GP. Whilst we want you to be the best that you can be, Dance Mama does not accept any responsibility for your health and wellbeing. Your body, your responsibility. COVID19 RESOURCES The industry's leading voice, One Dance UK, has compiled these online resources in response to the crisis and also has a programme of content to support you safely re-entering the dance space ONE DANCE UK RESOURCES Active Pregnancy Foundation also have some pre and postnatal specific COVI19 advice for activity in general. COVID 19 ACTIVITY GUIDANCE - PRE AND POST NATAL

  • STORIES | dancemama

    "A vital and unique resource for the 40,000+ strong workforce in dance" Andrew Hurst MBE, Chief Executive , One Dance UK Stories Highlights from 2021 KATE FLATT OBE LISTEN launching NATHALIE HARRISON WATCH INGRID MACKINNON READ JESSICA WARD WATCH FERN POTTER WATCH SHARON WATSON MBE WATCH HANNA QUIGGIN READ SIMONE MULLER-LOTZ WATCH BEATRICE BERNSTEIN READ Lucy McCrudden Dance Mama Founder Ingrid Mackinnon Movement Director, Choreographer, Educator Jessica Ward Principal of Elmhurst Ballet School Nathalie Harrison Ballet Dancer, Choreographer and Teacher Fern Potter Development Consultant, Trainer & Lecturer Simone Muller-Lotz Dancer Support and Programmes Officer, DCD and Founder, re-centre.co.uk KJ Mortimer Dancer, Teacher & Producer, Stopgap Dance Company & University fo Chichester Bonnie Ruddock Pilates Instructor, BActive Pilates Leila McMillan Senior Lecturer of Dance at Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts Sharon Watson MBE CEO & Principal of Northern School of Contemporary Dance Jo Rhodes Independent Dance Artist & Director Challenge 59 Laura Tye Yoga, Ballet & Postural Stability Coach Ruby Wolk Senior Ballet Manager, Learning & Participation, Royal Opera House Beatrice Bernstein Mind Body Wellbeing Coach, GYROTONIC® Trainer, Dancer, Teacher, Choreographer, Actor Founder, The Healthy Young Dancer Project Shelley Maxwell Choreographer, Movement Director & Performer Lee Griffiths Producer, Far From The Norm and Artists4Artists Hanna Quiggin Massage Therapist & Pilates Instructor Juliet Diener Founder & CEO, icandance Lucy Balfour Dancer, Rambert & Royal New Zealand Ballet Ali Duffy Associate Professor of Dance, Texas Tech University, Artistic Director, Flatlands Dance Theatre and Author Grace Okereke Freelance Producer Tara-Brigitte Bhavnani First Artist, The Royal Ballet Emma Jones Creative Producer & Freelance Dance Artist Katie Pearson Choreographer, Movement Director, Perfomer & Host Katie Green Artistic Director, Made By Katie Green New Adventures Red Staff members who are parents, including Associate Artistic Director, Etta Murfitt Belinda Lee Chapman Producer, Movement Director & Performer Rosie Kay-Price Choreographer & Artistic Director, Rosie Kay Dance Company Claire Cunningham Producer, Rehearsal Director & Yoga Teacher Kerry Nicholls Owner & Director of Kerry Nichols Dance Eleanor Cruse Company Administrator, Chrysalis London & freelance Ballet Teacher - Rebecca Jackson Dance Academy Kitty Winter Movement Director, Choreographer & Director Sun Bee Han Dancer at Shobana Jeyasingh Dance & Teacher Julie Lebel Artistic Director, General Manager and Choreographer, Foolish Operations (Canada) Laura Harvey Head of Creative Programmes ENB & Former Artistic Director, Quicksilver Youth Dance Company, Rambert Lucy Bayliss Head of Creative Programmes Delphine Gaborit Movement Director & Choreographer Maria Ryan Children & Youth Dance Manager (Job Share), The Place Natalie Dickmann CAT Administrator, Freelance Ballet Teacher and Consultant Heather Craig Co-Founder, Moving Stories Dance Company Eleanor Dowling Schools' Dance Specialist and Dance Practitioner Professor Emma Redding Dance Scientist Katie Vernon-Smith Learning Manager, Richard Alston Dance Company & Director, Dance Educates Claire Benson Freelance Dancer, Teacher & Choreographer Edel Quin Programme Leader BSc/MSci Dance Science, Senior Lecturer in Dance Anonymous Senior Dance Executive Melissa Porter Yoga Instructor & Former Dance Manager Melanie Precious CEO Greenwich Dance Anonymous Dance Artist & Choreographer Sarah Linstra Dancer & Teacher Jasmine Wilson Director of Learning and Engagement at Studio Wayne McGregor More Mamas and Papas! DANCE PAPAS ARTS MAMAS ARTS PAPAS

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