Yoga is today deemed a health treatment, thanks to its wide range of health benefits. Among other things, it can help fight muscle tightness, aid weight loss, and even strengthen weak pelvic floor muscles. Strengthening these muscles or fighting their tightness is essential as it helps in creating or promoting pelvic stability. This read will evaluate the best yoga pelvic floor exercises that fight pelvic muscle tightness, weakness, and dysfunction. Most of these exercises are not new, but are the typical poses you will find in a standard yoga workout plan. Take a look.
The Best Pelvic Floor Yoga Exercises
Before we look at these exercises, let us first explain what we mean by the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor refers to deep muscles that are located in your pelvis area. They run from the frontal pubic bone to your spine’s base. These muscles combine ligamentous attachments to create a dome-shaped diaphragm across the boney pelvic outlet (4).
In this dome shape, the pelvic floor holds your bowel, bladder, uterus, and vagina. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles is essential as it helps in providing your bladder with support when you urinate. Similarly, strong pelvic floor muscles help in strengthening your core and improving your overall posture (4).
These are some solid reasons why you need to exercise and strengthen your pelvic floor. Experts always suggest that you opt for yoga pelvic floor exercises, due to their increased effectiveness. In addition to strengthening these muscles, you will also reap the added benefits of yoga that include relaxation, improved stability, balance, and mindfulness. Below are some of the pelvic floor yoga poses they recommend:
- Lie on your back and bend the knees. Firmly press the feet flat on the ground and keep them hip-width apart. Rest your arms by your sides with the palms facing down.
- Contract your glutes and pelvic floor muscles, and start lifting your butt towards the ceiling. Lift it as high as you can without straining or disrupting your form.
- Hold this position for three to eight seconds.
- Relax both muscles and slowly lower your bum to the floor.
- Repeat ten times to complete one set.
- Rest for a minute and then perform another set. You can perform extra set if you so desire.
Warrior II Pose
If you have performed the Warrior I pose before, then you are bound to nail this pose as they are very similar. No need to worry even if you haven’t tried either because they are very straightforward. Here is how you do the Warrior II yoga pose to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles (2):
- Start in a standing position with your feet spread three to feet apart, like you did the Warrior I pose.
- Stretch your arms out to the sides with your palms facing down.
- Slowly turn your left foot out to a 90-degree angle and your right foot slightly to the right. Bend the left leg to a 90-degree angle, with the knee over the ankle.
- Press the outside of your right heel firmly to the ground and then extend your arms. Remember to keep your back straight and torso centered.
- Turn your head gently to the left and make sure you are looking past your fingers.
- Hold this stance for thirty to sixty seconds before switching sides.
- Repeat at least five times.
Legs Up The Wall
- Assume a sitting position with one of the sides of your body against a wall. Start to slowly lower your back so that it lies on the floor.
- Shift your legs such that they are now heading up the wall. Make sure that the back of your legs are resting flat against the wall. If they aren’t and you are struggling to make them rest flat against the wall, simply try the modification. The modification requires you to move your body back slightly away from the wall and then slightly bend your knees. Remember to keep your arms flat and at your side.
- Take deep breaths as you stretch for thirty to sixty seconds.
- Slowly swing your legs down from the wall.
- Rest for thirty to forty-five seconds and then repeat.
- Breathe deeply through the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Slowly swing your legs down from the wall.
Happy Baby Pose
The Happy Baby Pose is also one of the best exercises for the pelvic floor. Below are the steps on how to do this pose:
- Place a thick towel, cloth or yoga mat on the floor to avoid lying on the rough surface. Lie on the mat, cloth or towel, on your back. Slowly draw your knees towards your chest.
- Stretch your arms and hold on to the knees as you breathe deeply. Make sure you are holding on to the edges of your feet. If you cannot reach them, try wrapping your index or middle finger around your two big toes.
- Once you grasp them, pull your knees out to the side. Try pulling your knees as close to the ground without causing any pain or discomfort. Pull your feet back using your hands.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles and pull up the pelvic floor muscles. Try rocking them side to side to give your back somewhat of a massage.
- Hold this position for a minute or until you feel comfortable.
- Release your legs to the floor and relax your arms by your sides.
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The other pelvic floor yoga exercise experts recommend is the chair pose. Besides strengthening the pelvic floor, it also strengthens your core and lower body as you stretch your upper body (3). To perform it:
- Start in a mountain pose. While in this position, raise your arms over your head. Make sure your palms are facing or touching each other.
- Bend your knees, and then lean your body slightly forward. Make sure you keep your knees and ankles together.
- Pull your shoulder blades down and hold this position for thirty to sixty seconds.
- Repeat about four times.
The Cat-Cow Pose
The other yoga pose that helps the pelvic floor is the Cat-Cow pose. Besides strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, it also elongates your back, helping you stretch it. Here is how you do this exercise (6):
- Kneel on the floor and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and let them be directly beneath your shoulders. Again, remember to keep your knees directly below your hips.
- Breathe in and curve your lower back, bringing your head up. This will tilt your pelvis up like a cow, hence the name cow in the pose.
- Breathe out and bring your abdominal muscles in while arching your spine and bringing your head and pelvis down like a cat.
- Repeat several times.
Bird Dog Exercise
We will close off this yoga pelvic floor workout plan with the Bird-Dog exercise. Besides strengthening the core and stretching the back, this exercise also targets your pelvic floor muscles. To do it (5):
- Start on your hands and knees. Make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart and directly under your shoulders.
- Tighten your core muscles and lift and stretch your right leg behind you. Make sure you are lifting them to your hips level.
- At the same time, stretch your left hand in front of you and keep your back as straight as you can.
- Hold this position for five to ten seconds.
- Return to the starting stance and switch sides.
- Repeat eight to twelve times to complete one set. Do at least two sets.
The Bottom Line
Both men and women need pelvic floor yoga exercises to help fight tightness, strengthen these muscles, and improve the performance of related body features like the bladder. Some of the yoga poses experts suggest are the Glute Bridge, Bird-Dog, Cat-Cow, Happy Baby, Chair, Warrior II, and the Leg Up the Wall Pose. As always, do not make any changes to your workout plan without consulting with a professional. Good luck as you try this program!
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 6 Yoga Poses That Age Well (2014, webmd.com)
- Fitness and Exercise: 12 Basic Yoga Poses (2019, medicinenet.com)
- How to do pelvic floor exercises (2021, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Strengthen Your Back (2021, webmd.com)
- Stress management (2014, mayoclinic.org)