Stretching and strengthening the muscles is essential to improve flexibility, balance and overall strength. Online yoga classes, like Shvasa, include Yoga asanas that work on muscles in every region. Yoga to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles is an impactful practice that provides a range of benefits. Yoga poses for pelvic floor strength keeps the pelvic floor healthy, keeping issues of the pelvic organs (bladder, bowel and uterus in women) at bay. A strong pelvic floor is linked to better balance, healthy bladder and supports pre-and-post childbirth organ health.
What is the importance of the pelvic floor?
Not always a priority for many, pelvic floor muscles tend to be ignored. However, they are extremely important for women’s health. The pelvis lies between the abdomen and legs, making up the base of the core. It is the bottom part of the human body, consisting of the bladder and reproductive organs, while supporting the intestines. The pelvic floor muscles are important as they support the pelvic organs by covering the bottom of the pelvis in women. It is integral to women’s health, and goes a long way in supporting the abdomen, diaphragm and back muscles. The pelvic floor muscles also help control the pressure inside the abdomen when doing certain activities like the body lifting or a strain on the side while carrying a heavy bag. It also enhances posture.
What are the benefits of a strong pelvic floor?
Strong pelvic floor muscles indicate better control over the bladder and bowels and reduced risk of prolapse and incontinence. There is improved recovery in women after childbirth or a gynecological surgery and better sexual health.
Can yoga help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles?
Yoga provides immense benefits for the mind and body. It is a powerful tool that supports health and well-being, healing, strength, flexibility and balance, both physically and mentally.
A study conducted on the impact of physical therapy programs, including yoga, also found that yoga strengthens, stretches and relaxes the pelvic floor, significantly reducing menstrual cramps and pain in women during the monthly cycle.
Many yoga postures work specifically on strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and are tremendously beneficial for women’s health. They even aid in managing symptoms of PCOS/ PCOD such as weight loss, stress and anxiety, thyroid, etc. Yoga also improves mobility of the muscles in and around the pelvic floor area. This improves overall strength, balance, flexibility and coordination. However, one must avoid all squats like the Garland pose.
What causes pelvic floor dysfunction?
Pelvic floor dysfunction pain can be a result of irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, crohn’s disease, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, fibroids, cysts, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, childbirth and surgery.
What are the symptoms of pelvic floor disorders?
A weak or damaged pelvic floor shows symptoms of urinary incontinence, difficulty with bowel movements, pelvic organ prolapse, a heavy or full feeling in the vagina, constipation, stool leakage, pain while urinating and frequently feeling the need to urinate.
How can yoga for pelvic floor strength help you?
Yoga for weight loss, yoga for stress, yoga for thyroid, yoga for PCOS/ PCOD, etc. are all beneficial for women’s health. Yoga for pelvic floor strength is not far behind. Yoga can strengthen and stabilize the pelvic floor muscles, reduce pelvic floor pain and help women recover faster from childbirth. The pelvic floor can lose its muscle tone and bladder control due to pregnancy and childbirth, during menopause, and due to aging. With regular yoga, the muscles get stretched, strengthened and massaged, providing an overall toning effect. Blood flow to organs and the abdominal cavity increases which boosts health. Many yoga poses for pelvic floor strength specifically work on the pelvis’s stability, as it is the base of the spine. Spinal movement also improves subsequently. Yoga postures also release blockages in various areas, including the base of the pelvis.
We recommend joining the best online yoga classes with an experienced teacher. The classes will include yoga postures to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles in their class flow. Even if you are attending an online yoga class regularly with a good teacher, you'll automatically improve pelvic floor strength.
Yoga poses for pelvic floor strength
Warrior 1 Pose
Warrior 1 or Veer Bhadrasana is a core strengthening, standing posture. This yoga pose works on the core, pelvis, back, arms and legs. It engages all the muscles in these regions, stretching and strengthening them.
How to do Warrior 1 Pose:
- Stand about 3 feet apart with your right foot facing forward while your left leg is straight behind you with your foot flat on the floor. The foot will be pointing outwards.
- Come into a lunging position with your torso facing forward for warrior one.
- Now raise your hands up and gaze forward. Make sure your front leg knee is in line with your foot and thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Engage the core, thigh muscles, abdominal muscles and take deep breaths. Keep the back straight, focus your attention on any stretch you are feeling in different parts of the body.
Chair pose or Utkatasana is also a strengthening posture that requires you to engage the core. The chair pose yoga works on the core, legs, arms and back, also strengthening all the muscles. The muscles supporting the pelvic region get a toning effect.
How to do Chair Pose:
- Stand in the tree pose (Tadasana). Now take your feet slightly apart (a little less than shoulder width).
- Slowly bend your knees such that your thighs are parallel (or almost parallel) to the floor. Pretend like you are sitting on the chair, but actually your buttocks are in the air. Make sure your back remains straight.
- Now raise both the hands up keeping them straight. Look directly in front of you and hold the posture with your breath.
- You will have to engage the core and thighs to hold the posture.
The Cobbler’s pose, known as Baddha Konasana, is a beginner level hip opening posture. It effectively works on the hips, groin and thighs, stretching and improving flexibility and mobility of the region. Therefore, it has a remarkable effect on the pelvic region.
How to do Cobbler’s Pose:
- Sit with the spine straight and legs wide apart.
- Now bend the legs and bring the feet as close to the groin as you can. Join the soles of the feet together.
- Grab the feet or the toes tightly with the hands. You can place the hands on the mat, below the feet, if you need more support. Ensure your back remains straight.
- Now slowly try to bring the feet closer to the groin if you can.
- If you are comfortable, you can also try to slowly push the thighs and knees towards the mat. Remember to be gentle and do as much as possible.
- Engage the core so you are able to hold the posture. Keep your attention on the stretch in the groin, inner thighs and back.
- Stay here for a few slow, deep breaths. This will help you relax in the posture.
- To come out of the posture, slowly, exhale and release the toes or feet.
- Extend the legs forward into the staff pose (Dandasana) and relax here.
Shoulder stand with root lock (Moola Bandha)
Known as Sarvangasana, the Shoulder stand with root lock, Moola Bandha is beneficial for core strength. Moola bandha is the root lock so here the pelvic floor muscles are tightened and engaged along with the abdomen and core. While doing inversions like the shoulder stand it is easier to apply this lock. You can also apply moola bandha in other inversions like headstand.
How to do shoulder stand with the root lock:
- First come into the shoulder stand. As the pelvic floor lifts, you have to extend the front of the body and slowly reach upward through the legs and feet and lengthen the groins and waist.
- Draw the sit bones together, and draw the tailbone toward the pubic bone. This is moola bandha.
- Now with moola bandha engaged, inhale drawing up to the navel, sternum, throat, eyebrow center, and finally to the crown of the head, all the while lengthening the central axis of the body toward the ground. Follow the exhalation through the same way - through the central axis and all the way back to the moola or root of the spine.
Many core strengthening postures also help in strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. Yoga postures such as Boat pose, Plank pose and Forearm Plank, among others are impactful.
The best way to start yoga to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles is to join a regular yoga class with a certified yoga teacher. Some of the best online yoga classes, like Shvasa’s, are online, so it is easy to incorporate into your daily routine from the comfort of your home.