Yoga and the Pelvic Floor – All You Need to Know
When we find ourselves dealing with a weakened pelvic floor and pelvic floor dysfunction, we will usually turn to doing Kegels as a first line of attack.
Kegel exercises, especially when done using the wonderful Kegel Weights from Secret Whispers can be the saviour of your pelvic floor, letting you dance your way through life without giving leaking a second thought!
Why not gift yourself our multi award winning Kegel Weights Kit for Christmas and start 2023 on your leak free journey.
In addition to the wonderful Kegel power exercises, working on your core strength can help no end to restoring your pelvic floor to its former glory, and one such exercise is yoga.
Does Yoga Help to Strengthen our Pelvic Floor?
In short, Yes! Yoga is great for improving strength and tone of muscles by increasing blood flow through deep breathing and building strength by holding a pose, and it is for the same reason that it can be wonderful for strengthening those much neglected muscles in our pelvic floor.
In the 30 Day Pelvic Floor Challenges that I run (just a few times a year and the next one is March 2023), I incorporate lots of Yoga stretching exercises to get a full core workout.
We all think about how we look outwardly, how toned we are, or how fit and strong we look and feel, but until those poor little pelvic floor muscles start to let us down (known a pelvic floor dysfunction) we tend to forget that they need our attention too. They are quite literally “out of sight, out of mind”.
According to Advanced Gynecology 1 yoga can improve the mobility of the muscles in and around the pelvic floor and improve the overall condition of these muscles strength and coordination.
Whether you are looking to prevent issues, or address problems that have already arisen, to not only gain control of urinary functions, but also avoid prolapse and even support the abdominal, diaphragm and back muscles, to support the spine, those forgotten muscles are so important.
To achieve this, yoga could be exactly the right companion to regular Kegels.
Yoga to Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscles
As with all exercise, if you are unsure, speak with your doctor before trying anything new, however there are plenty of gentle and low intensity yoga poses that could help strengthen the muscles in the pelvic region, and to reduce pain and discomfort. Try the following exercises.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Stand with your feet hip distance apart and your hands resting at your sides. Place a thick book or yoga block between your thighs as this helps to engage the muscles around the hips and pelvis, bringing stability and strength in them.
Engage the muscles in your inner thighs, and try to lift the book (or yoga block) upwards towards your pelvis.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Start in mountain pose, as above, with your arms stretched upwards, and the tips of your fingers stretched towards the ceiling. Bend your knees as if you are going to sit down, keeping your back as straight as possible, and push your hips back into a squat.
Make sure your heels stay on the floor and don’t allow your hips to dip lower than your knees as this will put strain on your pelvic floor.
Once you are in this position, breath out and do a slow Kegel for up to 10 seconds, and then return to standing, rest your pelvic floor for 5 seconds and then repeat this 10 times. Follow with 10 Fast Kegels at the end.
Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasana II)
Once again, start in mountain pose, step your right foot forwards, with your feet around one metre apart. Lift your arms out to the side so that they are parallel with the floor. Keep your right foot straight but turn your left foot out slightly so that your toes are angled away from your body.
Bend your right knee over the right ankle, keeping the left leg straight, and tighten your tummy, then on an outward breath - pull up your pelvic floor, doing a slow Kegel. Hold for around 10 seconds, then straighten the right leg. Relax your pelvic floor for 5 seconds and repeat 5 times. Swap sides and do the same. Finish with 10 Fast Kegels.
Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)
Lie down on your back on a thick towel or yoga mat, and draw your knees into your chest. Hold onto your knees and inhale and exhale deeply. Grab the outside of your feet, then, keeping your knees bent, pull them out to the sides, as close to the floor as possible without hurting yourself. Pull your feet back with your hands.
Keep your tummy muscles engaged and pull your pelvic floor muscles up as before on an outward breath for up to 10 seconds. You can rock from side to side to give your back a massage as a little bonus!
Then release to your starting position, with your arms at your side to relax and relax your pelvic floor muscles here to for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times and finish with 10 Fast Kegels.
Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
Another good value pose, which works the back, legs, glutes, as well as your pelvic floor! Great for spinal mobility and core muscles.
Lie on your mat or towel again, this time on your front, with legs together and arms at your side, palms facing downwards.
Rest your forehead and nose gently on your mat, then inhale and lift your head, chest, and arms off the floor. Reach through all your fingers and turn your hands so that your thumbs are pointing downwards. Keep sliding your shoulder blades down your back.
Then to lift your legs. Exhale and lift your legs off the mat, leading with your inner thighs. With the buttocks slightly firm, drop the tailbone towards the ground.
If this is too challenging, just drop your legs.
You want to hold your gaze just slightly in front so as to protect your neck. Pull up your pelvic floor to do the Slow Kegel and hold for up to 10 seconds. Relax your body and pelvic floor for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times. Finish with 10 Fast Kegels.
Is Yoga or Pilates Better for Pelvic Floor?
Yoga and Pilates have plenty in common 2 and both a fantastic for your physical and mental health, however, according to the National Library for Medicine 3 while both forms of exercise demonstrate a significant beneficial effect on pelvic floor dysfunction, yoga poses address the pelvic floor and core muscles and had superior benefits over Pilates in terms of improved continence.
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