There are so many reasons to love yoga.
But so many women hear the word “yoga” and picture having to twist into a pretzel or stretch their leg above their ear. And for other women, Yoga can exacerbate pelvic issues like leaking, pain, and pelvic organ prolapse.
I’m here to tell you that for most people, that’s not what yoga’s about at all.
Yoga is a gentle and relaxing muscle-building exercise regimen.
But it’s also more than that.
- It can be a spiritual practice if you want it to be.
- It’s an amazing way to learn how to focus on sensation and really become grounded and present in your body.
- And it can also be a fantastic means of improving the strength of your pelvic floor, finding more satisfaction in your sex life, (1) and helping to curb urinary leaking (that unfortunate experience that plagues one-third of all women — peeing your pants when you laugh, sneeze, jump, or cough).
How Yoga Helps Tone, Strengthen, and Balance The The Pelvic Floor
So in much the same way yoga can help tone your back or arm muscles, it can help your pelvic floor muscles. This is great news, because keeping these muscles strong and supple is one of the best ways to prevent and heal prolapse, end leaking, and put an end to pelvic pain.
Focusing on the breath is a huge part of effective yoga practice, and proper breathing engages the pelvic floor. Furthermore, many yoga poses are pelvic-centric if they are performed in the correct way.
Many yoga exercises if done correctly center around keeping your core strong and they provide a well-rounded approach to strength training that doesn’t simply focus on contracting your muscles.
Yoga helps to elongate and soften the pelvic floor, in addition to tightening, as we do with Kegel exercises. It’s a wonderful compliment to any pelvic floor self-care — especially if you spend a lot of time sitting or suffer from pelvic pain, leaking or pressure.
Preliminary studies have actually suggested that yoga is a safe and feasible way to improve urinary incontinence in women. (2,3) The emphasis here is on safe and feasible — because many of the incontinence remedies that are suggested to women are neither. Looking at you, pessaries, vaginal mesh, surgery, painkillers, and injections…
And more than just pelvic health, yoga has also shown to be effective at lowering heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety. (4,5) It’s also been studied as a way to reduce inflammation and improve sleep quality. (6-10)
Be Careful — The Wrong Yoga Exercises Will Do More Harm Than Good & Are Not Safe For The Pelvic Floor
Yoga is without a doubt, one of the best ways to exercise your entire body, including your pelvic floor. And it’s a great mental workout, too.
But it’s not something you can learn to do on your own. You really need to have someone teach you the right techniques and proper form. Plus, many traditional yoga poses can overwork the pelvic floor muscles, and cause more harm than good.
You see, the pelvic floor muscles need to be stretched, strengthened, and stabilized. And while many yoga moves are ideal for this process, some can serve to work against your goals.
Any of the belly lock poses, boat poses, and even some plank poses can damage your pelvic floor if it’s already compromised.
Additionally, yoga poses that aim at prolonged holding and gripping of the legs, gluteal, and core muscles can damage our lady parts or, worse, throw us into a flare. The truth is that there’s a trend for hard yoga, and it’s hurting women more than helping, so we need to be careful with the type of yoga we decide to do, especially if we suffer from leaking, pelvic organ prolapse, or pelvic pain.
Because of this, I’ve created a yoga program specifically for the pelvic floor that not only strengthens the body but also balances and strengthens our lady parts. It is called PRESS yoga, and it’s already helped hundreds of women who want to have happier and stronger lady parts. It’s also ultra-safe for women who have back pain as well.
If you would like more helpful tips on strengthening your core the right way and are looking to heal yourself from prolapse, leaking, and incontinence, check out my Press Yoga Program for pelvic floor dysfunction.
The Yoga Grip That Hurts Women’s Pelvic Floor Muscles
There’s a little-known truth about traditional yoga: women are encouraged to grip their pelvic floor muscles with the Mula Bandha.
This over-gripping in Yoga weakens women’s pelvic floor muscles and putting them at risk for pain, pressure, leaking, and weak orgasms. I’ve personally come out of a Yoga class in a flare, and so have many of my patients. This is the reason that I created my PRESS yoga program, which is pelvic-floor-safe.
The truth is that all women desire to have strong pelvic floors, but before women can strengthen their pelvic floor muscles, they must relax and keep them flexible. This is where my PRESS yoga comes into play. We live in a culture where we grip our abdominals, vaginas, and butt muscles. This tendency to over-grip keeps women weak in their pelvis because the muscles are over tensed and weak. The truth is that women need a more balance yoga program that is designed for women and is pelvic floor safe but there are very few yoga programs that are specifically engineered for a women’s body. The constant gripping and holding that happens in most yoga classes is actually a major cause of too much tension in the vaginal muscles causing weakness and pain.
My Top Two Yoga Poses For Pelvic Floor Power & Happier Lady Parts-
The Child’s and Mountain Pose are my go-to yoga exercises for all women who want to balance and have strong pelvic floor muscles and they are experts from my PRESS yoga program.
WHAT TO DO:
- Get on your hands and knees and then bring your body into the child’s pose as in the above photo.
- Bring one hand onto each sit bone (not shown) and keep contact with the bones as you perform as focus on relaxing your pelvic floor muscles (or keep your arms outstretched as in the photo).
- If your sit bones do not touch your heels, place a pillow under your gluteal muscles and feet.
- Now imagine as you breathe in for a count of five seconds that your sit bones are moving away from each other. Simultaneously feel your pelvic muscles release and relax.
- Make sure your in-breath lasts at least five seconds, and then perform for five more breaths.
- Child’s Pose shows how you connect your mind and body to your pelvic floor muscles—the truth is that many women have tight and weak pelvic floor muscles. Still, we’ve been led to believe that we are loose “Down There,” which causes many women to over-activate their muscles, contributing to more leaking, more pain, leaking, and more pelvic pressure.
Mountain Pose – Tadasana
What to Do:
- Stand with the inner edge of your big toes touching. If you have difficulty balancing, widen your stance a few inches. Distribute your body weight on the 4 corners of your feet.
- Let arms drape beside the body naturally. Relax eyes, tongue, facial muscles, and PFMs.
- Engage and lift your quadriceps ( front of thighs) muscles without locking the knees; simultaneously engage your transverse abdominal muscle ( inner core muscle) by gently contracting your abdominal muscles and bringing your belly button gently towards your spine and up to the heart. Hold it.
- Now focus on relaxing your pelvic floor muscles and your body is erect and in excellent posture.
- Keep chin parallel to the floor, lengthen the neck, and left shoulder blades drape down back while the crown of the head reaches toward the ceiling.
- Avoid sending your chest and ribs out and forward.
- The pose shows how you should carry your body—very upright and straight without having to grip your vaginal muscles. Mountain Pose also improves posture, pelvic organ prolapse, leaking, and relieves back pain.
Would You Like To Go Deeper Finding The Right Yoga Routine That Is Pelvic Floor Safe?
Many local yoga studios aren’t familiar with pelvic floor therapy, and that’s why many women with pelvic issues cannot participate fully in a class even though they want to.
Which is exactly why I created my P.R.E.S.S. Yoga program.
This program incorporates every drop of knowledge I’ve gained in my 20 years as a pelvic healer. Every single pose that I included in the PRESS yoga program was chosen by looking at the pelvic floor muscles with biofeedback. Basically, I wanted to know what was happening with women’s pelvic floor’s so an internal sensor was inserted into the pelvic floor and then we could see exactly which poses were good or bad for women’s pelvic floor.
I formulated each and every move with your pelvic floor in mind. Each pose is modified to reduce stress on the pelvic floor muscles and lower back. Every pose benefits women’s pelvic health and the mind-body connection. Plus, there is no forward being in PRESS yoga, a big plus for women who suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction, back pain, and pelvic organ prolapse.
It’s completely adaptable to your specific skill level and can be completed either sitting or standing.
And it incorporates all of the things that make yoga so beneficial for the entire body — including proper breathing techniques and mindfulness.
What’s more, this series of exercises can be performed in a small space, and you don’t need any fancy or expensive equipment to start reaping the benefits.
Plus, it costs less than a fast food dinner for the family and is way more affordable than a membership at your yoga studio.
If you’ve been suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction of any sort, and you haven’t given yoga a proper try, now is the time.
Learn more about the P.R.E.S.S. Yoga program and how it can change your life here.
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- “A Group-Based Yoga Therapy Intervention for Urinary … – NCBI.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4310548/.
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- “Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability … – NCBI.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/
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