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The 6 Stages of Toilet Meditation With Shelly Prosko
By: Shelly Prosko, PT, CPI, C-IAYT; Editor: Nataliya Zlotnikov, MSc, HBSc

Today's Blog

Today's blog was guest-written by physiotherapist, yoga therapist and educator, Shelly Prosko.

It discusses the importance of toileting mindfully and takes us through Shelly's Toilet Meditation. 

Modern Mindfulness

Mindfulness practices are gaining popularity and even appear to be quite trendy these days.

Perhaps it is because we know, and have experienced, that there is tremendous value in being present and mindful throughout our day.

We talk about mindfulness during many activities such as driving, walking, exercising, eating, socializing, etc; so why not also be mindful while going to the bathroom? Yes, mindful toileting!



Image source: Pelvic Health Support

Why Should We Toilet Mindfully?

Being fully present and aware of our bodies, minds and emotions can help release the pelvic floor muscles (PFM’s) when we perform our toilet duties, resulting in successfully completing our task.

We oftentimes are in a hurry and rushing with the attitude of ‘hurry up and just get it over with, I have something important waiting’ or our minds are elsewhere as we are texting or reading, which can be distracting from our present intention of the moment: to empty and eliminate!

This could lead to not fully relaxing and releasing the PFM’s, or not fully emptying the bowel or bladder, which may potentially contribute to or exacerbate a variety of pelvic health issues like:

  • Urinary urgency
  • Frequency
  • Incontinence
  • Constipation
  • Pelvic pain conditions

I have a short 'Toilet Meditation' that I like to share with my clients/students that involves 6 stages, using the acronym “AIRBAG” to help you remember.

Shelly Prosko's 7-Minute Toilet Meditation 

This above meditation is also part of Shelly's online healthcare course, PhysioYoga and the Pelvic Floor. 

 

Learn More About Shelly's Course,
PhysioYoga and the Pelvic Floor 



What Does This Course Offer:

What will you learn in Shelly's online healthcare course, PhysioYoga and the Pelvic Floor? 

Honestly, quite a lot. 

Too much to put into this blog. So if you are curious, definitely check out the course page by clicking on the yellow course button. 

In brief though, the intention of this course is to offer a theoretical and experiential integration of accessible and practical yoga methods and philosophy with evidence-informed practices to enhance overall pelvic floor health and wellness. 

 

The Course Is Intended For: 

Rehabilitation professionals and movement specialists including but not limited to: 

  • Physiotherapists
  • Physiotherapy assistants
  • Occupational therapists
  • Occupational therapy assistants
  • Athletic therapists
  • Exercise therapists
  • Kinesiologists 
  • Yoga teachers
  • Yoga therapists
  • Movement specialists who are interested in learning more about yoga and pelvic floor health and wellness. 

 

If you'd like to learn more, take a look at Shelly Prosko's course, PhysioYoga and the Pelvic Floor, below: 


Learn More About Shelly's Course,
PhysioYoga and the Pelvic Floor 



Toilet Meditation Using AIRBAG Acronym

If you are sitting on the toilet, it’s a good idea to place your feet up on some blocks so that your knees are slightly higher than your hips.

This is an ideal position for your PFM’s to be released and allow for proper elimination, particularly for bowel movements.

If you are standing during urination, these toilet meditation stages of “AIRBAG” can still be performed:

 

What follows is a lovely explanation of the AIRBAG acronym that you can learn and share with your clients: 

 

Awareness (A)

A brief body scan from head to toe simply observing sensations that you may be experiencing both externally and internally, without judgment. You may include awareness of thoughts and emotions, without elaborating on a story or analyzing.


Imagination (I)

Use your visualization skills to imagine your pelvic floor and the general area where the PFMs are located: they expand across the inside of the front, sides and back of the pelvis, the tailbone and sacrum. Visualize where the bladder and bowel are positioned and imagine them emptying and that the PFM’s spanning across the pelvic floor are healthy and functioning optimally.


Release & Relax (R)

Let go of any tension in the PFM’s as best as you can. Releasing and relaxing these muscles can sometimes be difficult for a variety of reasons. Letting go may take courage, trust, concentration and practice.


Breathe (B)

Allow your natural breath pattern to emerge.


Sometimes when we ‘try’ to breathe, we create more tension that results in unnatural patterns that don’t serve a relaxed state.

As you quietly inhale, the belly will naturally go ‘out’ and the pelvic floor will descend. As you exhale, the belly and PFM’s will return to their resting positions. During toileting, see if you can simply allow the quiet rhythm of the abdominopelvic diaphragmatic breath to happen on its own without trying to change it.


Allow (A)

This ‘allowing’ is a little more than just releasing and relaxing or allowing the breath to happen on its own. See if you can really give yourself permission to trust that your body knows what to do and when to do it.

Perhaps you feel the need to ‘push’ gently (do not strain) or you do feel like you want to take a deep breath or lean forward or place your feet in a different position.

The more refined your awareness skills are, the more you can trust what feels right, and not always what you think you should do.



Gratitude (G)

I think it is a healthy practice to not only be completely present and mindful when toileting, but to also honour this sophisticated and truly complex function that our body does for us on a daily basis without us even asking it to.

So each time you complete your toileting event, see what it feels like to send a little gratitude to your body and all its incredibly phenomenal parts to end your Toilet Meditation!!


Happy Toileting!

 

Take Shelly's Online Course
PhysioYoga & The Pelvic Floor 

 

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Date written: 30 Sept 2019 
Last update: 15 Sept 2021

Shelly Prosko
PT, CPI, C-IAYT

Shelly is a physiotherapist, yoga therapist, educator and pioneer of PhysioYoga with over 20 years of experience integrating yoga into rehabilitation with a focus on helping people suffering from chronic or persistent pain, pelvic health conditions and professional burnout. She guest lectures at yoga and physiotherapy programs, presents at yoga therapy and medical conferences globally, provides mentorship to health providers, offers onsite and online continuing education courses for yoga and health professionals and is a Pain Care U Yoga Trainer. She maintains a clinical practice in Sylvan Lake, Canada and believes that cultivating meaningful connections, compassion and joy can be powerful contributors to recovery and well-being. Shelly is co-editor of the book Yoga and Science in Pain Care: Treating the Person in Pain. 

Please visit www.physioyoga.ca to learn more

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