Angles and leaning over


I remembered today that I do have more questions. The two jobs at home that take so much time, dishes and laundry, often have me in the leaning forward position with an upright obtuse angle that Christine warned against in her DVD. She shows an example when vacuuming. I'd love to have a dishwasher and dryer up two feet higher! That would save my back and my insides obviously. So any tips? When I'm pulling stuff out of the dryer I try to remember to either kneel by the dryer or squat down. But the dishwasher is trickier. It's all motion, pick up a dish, lean over, put it in, pick up another dish, lean over, put it in. Any better way to do it that wouldn't require all that leaning over in the obtuse angle?

Hi Create4

Can you put a big cake tin or something in the sink and plavce your washing up bowl on top of it to raise the level of the washing up water?

Or stand with your feet about three feet apart, so you are shorter. I used to do this when I had normal height workbenches. My renovated kitchen now has benches about 37 inches high, which is great! I am 5ft 7 inches tall.

I don't currently have a dishwasher, but I used to always pull the racks all the way out to stack and empty. I would suggest either bending over from the *hip joints* with a straight upper back, with feet well apart, so your belly fits between your thighs; or squatting on your toes at the corner of the dishwasher, with one thigh parallel to the top of the door and the other thigh parallel to the side of the door, so you can get in close. Rise to standing with a very straight back, leaning forwards and straightening your knees, with butt up in the air, before straightening your hip joints, when you are loaded with a pile of plates. This will also lessen the strain on your knees (a Feldenkrais trick).

*Always* bend or straighten at the hip joints. *Never* bend or straighten at the waist! This means that your lower abdominal wall is always the base of the bowl, and your vagina is at the top , when you are lifting. No chance of your pelvic organs getting out via that route!

Squatting is very good for POP, and good for thigh muscle strength. When we habitually stoop with a bent back, ie bending from the *waist*, our thigh muscles often become very weak. We need strong thigh muscles for lifting anything. Day to day squatting is as good as anything for strengthening them. They are very bulky and useful muscles.

Re laundry, I have a front loader that is up on a purpose made plinth about 300mm tall, but not practical if your drier is under a benchtop. I have a little stool, about 300mm tall that I sit on to take clothes out. A solid toddler chair, or one of those little kids' toilet stools would do the trick. Or else put the drier on the bench instead of under it.

These are going to be longterm adjustments that you will need to make, so consider using a temporary fix until you work out what is exactly right, before doing any permanent changes.


Thanks for the detailed advice. I need to be able to picture it, so I appreciate the details you include. I'll try some of these things and see what works best. I've been trying to remember more to pull out the utensil rack at least and bring it up to the counter.

I appreciate the laundry tips, too, Louise. And I use ur advice to just do things a piece at a time, and apply that to taking those heavy wet clothes, towels, etc out of the wash and into the dryer, so I don't over do it. Seems slow but wet clothes can be very heavy, so I one-at-a-time it for towels, sheets, etcv. : )

Hurrying is one of my main enemies. I feel/am so much better when I can move mindfully and do things comfortably and in good time. I must be on my way to Enlightenment, but I fear that Bhudda would be sorely disappointed in me sometimes.

I am really confused with the explanation on various posts on how to bend over correctly and lifting objects correctly, maybe I have problem with the terms in english language since I am not from the US.
Please some one explain to me like a 10 year old how you do that?
And the difference between bending at hip jpints, and lifting a heavy object, cause I saw different posts, that there is a difference between those.

thank you in advance anyone,

Lifting step one
Lifting step two
Lifting step three
Lifting step four
Lifting step five

These pictures refer to lifting heavier objects. For picking lighter objects up or off the ground, keep a moderate hip turn-out and simply hinge at the hip joints, maintaining one long line from crown of head to tailbone.

Thank you Christine, and absolutely pictures are so much easier for

Permit me to caution here. If you use the hip hinge method to lift make sure you do it very slowly, and definitely do not bounce your back and hips in jerky gradients. Only bend as far down as it is comfortable to do so. When lifting by hip hinge you are using your whole body, not your arms, not your legs, not your back individually (your arms, legs and back in fact should be relaxed), but your whole body and it is a comfortable, smooth operation.

If you are seeking to lift heavier items, and after first approaching the item in the hip hinge method, you find you cannot lift it, then you probably should not be lifting it on your own anyway. Get help from somebody else or use a fork lift, or break the package up, or any of a number of options frequently cited by Louise. The consequences of lifting items too heavy for you are uterine prolapse, stomach hernias, back and knee problems and no doubt other things I have not heard about.

Western ergonomics does not recommend hip hinge lifting, (their concern is for your lower back) although you will find most people who habitually do heavy lifting use this method; and if applied carefully and thoughtfully do so with impunity. The slow lifting of your arms over your head and then down in a full forward arc to the floor is number 6 of the secret eight precious exercises belonging to an external exercise regime which is used daily by an estimated 100 million Chinese, so it is hard to know where our ergonomic experts are coming from when they consider it harmful to our back, except as cautioned in my first paragraph.

The photos of the lady lifting the cushion do not follow western ergonomic recommendations which are to hold your back straight, at a ninety degree angle to your feet. The woman illustrated bends forward, her back on a slope. This is, in fact, how most people (male and female, watch for yourself) try to lift after they have squatted. To recommend this method it would seem that the ergonomic people have studied how strong men lift weights: they squat, get under their weight, stand with straight back and spread legs and then lift. They of course prove that it is possible to lift this way, but who among us should be lifting those types of weights? And of course as Christine never tires to remind us, women need to retain a strong lumbar curve.

For me, with a uterine prolapse, I do not squat, not ever. In the attempt to return my uterus up and forward, I avoid as far as possible those obvious harmful movements and occupations which will cause my uterus to drop. That is my advice to anyone with a uterine prolapse, don’t squat and don’t lift from a squat. Anyone with a uterine prolapse who can squat successfully please correct me. Ladies with cystocoele and rectocele will need to ponder and decide for themselves.

To summarize, lifting by the hip hinge method is perfectly OK as long as you do not try to lift what you cannot lift.

"Squatting is very good for POP, and good for thigh muscle strength. When we habitually stoop with a bent back, ie bending from the *waist*, our thigh muscles often become very weak. We need strong thigh muscles for lifting anything. Day to day squatting is as good as anything for strengthening them. They are very bulky and useful muscles."

"That is my advice to anyone with a uterine prolapse, don’t squat and don’t lift from a squat. Anyone with a uterine prolapse who can squat successfully please correct me. Ladies with cystocoele and rectocele will need to ponder and decide for themselves."

I squat like the lady in the second pic but my legs aren't as spread apart and my heels don't touch the ground. And always with lumbar curve. yea or nay?

Hi Christine

I would like to see the woman clasping the load in as close to her tummy as possible, to keep the object in line with her centre of gravity if possible. If the load has to be held horizontal I like to get right over the top of it for the initial lift, keep my arms straight, until my legs are straight, then do the last bit of the lift by bending my arms. However, my method does rely on a big hip turnout to get something like a long carton up between your thighs.

Thanks for the well-sequenced images. It is like an animation if you click on the Browser tabs in the right order. Well done!


I have a full day ahead and won't be able to get back to the forums until late this evening or tomorrow. However, here are two things to contemplate:

1. Where else do we use this position?

2. Is all intraabdominal pressure created the same?

:) Christine

Dear Chickaboom,

The fact you are already doing a squat with legs spread successfully and without discomfort would I think speak for itself that for you this is a reasonable thing to do. For me to squat with legs parallel and touching as in ‘getting down on your haunches’ is problematic, a wide leg spread is horrendous.

I am sorry if I have unduly alarmed or confused you, but I can only speak from my own experience. I think the experience of POP although sharing many commonalities also has its individualities, and I try to share mine with the other women here with the intention of widening the knowledge base not to confuse or dispute.

Best wishes

First of all, Fab, I would like to suggest that you practice squatting. I agree that a full, parallel squat with heels on the ground and back rounded is indeed stressful for prolapse. However, a parallel squat up on metatarsals with full lumbar curve in place is wonderful exercise for positioning the organs toward the front (feet and legs should be comfortably apart, not touching). You probably feel this is stressful because you can’t maintain full lumbar curvature in this position. Yet, this position is very useful for stretching the spine into full extension. The longitudinal arches of the feet and the lumbar curve are mutually supportive, and in fact create one another. A widely turned-out, full squat is also excellent (I end the WWYoga1 program in that position while holding baton overhead) *if* you can extend your lumbar spine.

Let’s look at lifting a moderately heavy object off the floor. Squatting all the way down, as illustrated, will give the most muscle power to the lift. A half-squat with hips externally rotated and knees bent is probably more doable for many women, though.

When you hinge forward at the hips your lower spine, rectum, vagina, uterus, bladder, abdominal and pectoral muscles are perpendicular to the shear forces created by moving an object vertically through space. If you experiment with this you can sense how little muscle contraction occurs in your lower back as compared to your buttocks and thigh muscles. Lifting in this way places the primarily workload on the gluteals, quads and hamstrings. A horizontal block of bone and muscle becomes available to lift when the body is placed in this position. Louise is correct that the object to be lifted should be kept close to the body at all times.

The common recommendation to “lift with a straight back” places the body in the very same obtuse angle that is counter to WW principles. Such practices were developed by men who have far greater upper body strength, a higher center of gravity, and narrower hips and sacrum.

When we bend at the knees and hips (as demonstrated in First Aid for Prolapse) the body is placed in an acute angle with intraabdominal pressure pushing the bladder and uterus against the lower abdominal wall and away from the pelvic outlet.

For lifting light objects off the floor, hip hingeing with straight knees is beneficial, safe movement. However, I highly recommend a daily exercise program to keep your hamstrings long and gluteals strong so lifting in this way is effortless.

All intraabdominal pressure is created equal! The organs are safely out of harm’s way when tucked into the hollow of the lower belly. The only ways to get them there are to either bend all the way forward or maintain strong lumbar curvature when standing, sitting or squatting. The more weight applied to the system in this position, the more the organs are pushed against the lower belly. However, this marvelous system is compromised in prolapsed women, so all reasonable cautions apply.


Washing dishes. There are three things you can do. First, renovate your kitchen and make the sink higher. Two, wash up in a bowl on top of the draining board to lift the bowl, or three, stand with your feet well apart on a non-slip mat, so you become shorter.

Think carefully about whether or not to buy a dishwasher. Packing them and unpacking them can be a problem too.

Re the laundry, my front loader washing machine stands on a plinth made for this purpose (You have to have your washer very well-balanced to make this safe!), and my drier is hanging on the wall above it. I squat-sit on a little stool about 9 inches high to load the washing machine. I unload the washing machine into a washing basket in a trolley, then wheel it outside to hang it out under the verandah to dry. This wouldn't work if you have sub-zero temperatures in winter but almost anything will line dry in a full 24 hours, even at the moment here, where it has been raining or damp for weeks, and under 15 degrees C maximum every day. (Yeah, that's a big change for southwest Australia!) I still have to air some things on a rack inside when I bring them in.

I still use my dryer when I need to dry a couple of garments quickly. Squat to get them out of the machine, then rise on toes to put them in the dryer equals plie and releve! Hanging out and bringing in washing seems to be quite good for POP too, with all the reaching and lifting. Up-down-up-down-up-down!

Necessity is the mother of invention. Almost any activity can be done safely with POP, and almost any activity can be made into a strength and flexibility exercise.


Hi, All. I've been reading a lot on WW. Regarding bending -- "bend at the hips". I just saw this link. This is confusing to me (my hips don't bend, like my waist does) .... so is it correct for me to picture: in good lumbar curvature "slide" your hips downward toward the floor while bending your knees as you lower (like sinking down while keeping WW posture).

Or, if you need to bend forward .. then do so with WW lumbar curvature and keep your belly tipped forward and your behind pushed out. What comes to mind for me is, the cartoons or plaques of the Russian babushka with socks slid down, scarf on head, and bent over forward and the view of her from behind shows mainly her behind sticking out. ??

Any bending or squatting and then coming back up (except for the slide back up), I feel my POP moving down a bit .... and/or I feel my labia opening up (weird feeling). Same thing if the ground is uneven or a dip or hole (not noticed), or a sideways leaning or gentle twist -- I feel POP movement and opening lips. We live in the country (no sidewalks) and going for walks or working outdoors can present a lot of different terrain.

Hi back in time,
It's not that you bend your hips, persae, it's more like you bend like your hips are hinges, which also makes it easier to maintain that good lumbar curvature. When you bend at the waist, your back rounds and you lose your lumbar curvature, and prolapse symptoms make themselves much more noticeable.

Thank you, Aging gracefully. But, I'm lost on that. "bend like your hips are hinges"?

I'll just do my best and wait until there is more tools available for me. Looking forward to the new DVD. And anything else that might come available in the future for us folks who have had some surgery.

{ does any one have a Youtube channel that I can subscribe to that would demonstrate bending, lifting? ]

The difference between bending forward at the waist, and bending forward at the hips, is that when you bend at the hips, you are keeping the lumbar curvature in place. So think of bending without flattening the lumbar curve. It kinda makes you stick your butt out. - Surviving

Thank Surviving60. And Aging Gracefully. You are both helping me to stay out of the ditch and keep on the road, to improvement.

OK, I can visualize that. I think that's what I've been working on. And when I do that, my waist bends along with the hips (while I am concentrating on keeping the curvature).

And when coming back up .... it's just in reverse?

Again, stuff seems to peak out some -- but I think I've read here more than once that the goal is to do the posture work, and by doing so, there should be improvement (if you work with caution and awareness).

I prefer a visual guide myself. The first aid for prolapse DVD was a great help in this and has so much practical material for daily living. It was Christine's first DVD, and I think one of the best to have in our library of this work. You may want to consider it.

Aging gracefully, thank for your reply! Yes....visual is for me.

I'm wondering if the first aid for prolapse DVD is okay for me. How will I know what I should and should not try (as someone so brilliantly said) being spayed?

But, on thinking further about that, here & now .... I think it has been mentioned quite a bit, that the ones in the spayed litter will just have to take the plunge and cautiously try and then pause and listen to the body -- just because there is no way of knowing, with our modified bodies. Kinda scary. .... And if I assimilated it correctly, that the spayed's should not do nauli and firebreathing (I've not looked those up...avoiding that like a plague).

Christine has described "prophylactic sacrocolpopexy" where the top of the vagina is sutured to the spine during hysterectomy, as a measure to help prevent vault prolapse. It might help for you to find out if you have had this. It's one of the reasons we caution against certain exercise moves which might put the wrong kind of pressure on those sutures. In general the post-hyst woman needs to proceed gently. - Surviving

Thanks, Surviving60!

A couple of days ago, I serendipitously found my medical records from back in that time period [it was like...they just jumped in my hand when I reached into a random storage box...wish that'd work that way w/ money -- he he].

I read the surgery report (Jan 1994). I saw a lot of tying things off, but did not see the word sacrocolpopexy in the report. Not sure what I read, all in all. Except a sad procedure.

But, if you had a PS, or you did not have one .... are those certain exercises safe, either way? PS and you can pull out sutures (even 21+ year sutures?), and jeopardize a VV ..... or, no PS and you get a VV? Is one better than the other?

I've read here, also, about something about the "length of the vagina", but I don't recall the discussion (and may never find it again).

Thanks for your reply!

How much vaginal length remains after hyst, is an important factor determining success with the WW work. That's because in correct posture, the vagina is a closed, flattened, airless space, which helps to keep the encroaching organs out. I don't know if there is any way to know whether or not you have enough!

There are certain moves such as strong pelvic rocks and firebreathing, which may not be advisable for post-hyst if these sutures are in place. This isn't a big area of expertise for me, so let me just say that anyone post-hyst needs to take it slowly and gradually. Loss of the uterus years ago does change the whole skeletal structure gradually over time. - Surviving

Hi ! I been reading lots from old posts. Just to clarify, if easier can you stand legs apart so that your belly is out and bend at the hinged hip with head to torso straight, which your butt should kinda stick out Do you breath in nose and on the exhale you bend down and in the belly on the way up.

I have to lift sm to med wood for our furnace, I read different ways but can't quite get it. I try and remember to hold close to body when lifting I try to do the way in the video with the lady bending over to lift the child from carriage, but not sure. I try to keep the posture then I put one foot straight forward and the other foot back with foot slightly on an angle, not to good at describing this,I try to keep back straight and bend at hips and lift with legs.
I love doing the position where you are on the floor on belly and you bend up and stretch the torso and head back., but hopefully I'm doing the right breathing, when you lift up I I hale , belly expands out. Hold then exhale when coming back down is that right?.
I also like your idea for the jiggles get, please correct if wrong, did posture. Then bend at hips to a footstool not quite to the floor. With bent knees slightly I move my legs and knees back and fourth quickly I quess any thoughts? Thanks again.

Hi Standing,
When bending over, just make sure you are not rounding your lower back, and that you are keeping your lumbar curvature in place.

Oh my gosh! Thank you for the pictures. Yes they are worth a thousand words!!

Thanks so much for the pictures! They are worth a thousand words.

I couldn't see what pictures were being referred to.

So.. should we lift as shown in the pictures, but on our toes?

Look at the links in Christine's first comment in this thread.