I went to a yoga class once where the teacher concluded her summary on the importance of root locks (holding in your abdomen and perineum) with the sentence, ‘if you can control your anus, you can control your mind.’ It goes without saying that my friend and I then had hysterics for the remaining hour because while that may be true, it’s also hilarious.
Weirdly, she wasn’t actually cracking a gag. The idea in yoga is that practising mula bandha (contracting your perineum) centres you, anchoring your mind and body. Breathing into mula bandha increases your lung capacity and refocuses your scattered thoughts – and strengthening the muscles down there is good for all the obvious reasons. Suddenly the ‘seat of power’ takes on a very different meaning.
There is also a meditation technique where you divert your attention away from stressful situations by directing your thoughts to a different part of the body, like feeling your feet in your shoes. What this does is break the negative thought cycle which usually ends with you being borderline insane. It therefore stands to reason that your bum muscle could help out with that. Give it a good clench when you find out the Central Line is down on your commute into work. No one will know. Bring yourself back into the present moment with a south-of- the-border squeeze if your mind is spiralling about money. It will remind you to breathe and try to be calm. It encourages a sense of stability and that’s what you need when you’re panicking about not owning a house and dying alone. Your anus can come to your aid in those moments. Now there’s a sentence you probably didn’t think you’d read today.