Best Yoga Poses for Pelvic Floor Problems
In Sanskrit, yoga means to yoke or to unite. The main of practicing yoga is to be united with the divine or to become one with the universal mind. In Hinduism, this divine is believed to Brahman, as the enlightenment and consciousness of the whole universe. It is an ancient practice that is believed not only in Hinduism but in other religions in India as well.
The practice of yoga is a combination of meditation, different postures called Asana, and breathing techniques called Pranayama. It trains the mind and body to develop self-awareness and higher consciousness. Since it is a total mind and body workout that benefits the mind, body, and spirit, it has become one of the favorite exercises in western culture in recent years.
The benefits of practicing yoga
Practicing yoga is a good stress reliever. Since it incorporates meditation and breathing techniques in the poses, it helps strengthen emotional help and promotes the production of serotonin in the body. It is a good remedy for anxiety and depression by calming the body and the mind. It is also good for people with insomnia to get a good night sleep.
The poses and breathing techniques help stimulate blood circulation, thus benefiting the heart and brain by unblocking the arteries and allowing transport of more oxygen throughout the body. This would result in better mental stability and concentration. The memory and cognitive function of the body is also improved.
Yoga benefits the physical body by strengthening the muscles and improving flexibility. With constant practice, the body’s range of motion is increased, and tight muscles are loosened.
Common pelvic floor muscle problems and causes
The pelvic floor muscles are the muscles that support the pelvic organs like the bladder. It is also responsible for the body’s bowel and the release of the body’s excreta. Pelvic floor muscles are also important for sexual functions in men and women. In women, pelvic floor muscles do not only support the pelvic organs but as well as the fetus inside the womb during pregnancy and while giving birth.
Pelvic floor problems can be caused by a lot of things. It can be loosened because of pregnancy and during childbirth. Problems can also be a result of straining the muscles by lifting heavy things or in the toilet. Chronic coughing is also one of the causes as well as extreme exercises that impact the pelvis. The pelvic floor muscles also tend to weaken by age, especially for women after menopause as the body will produce less estrogen.
When the pelvic floor muscles become damaged and weak, it can cause difficulty in conceiving, pregnancy, and during the birthing process. It can also lead to prostate cancer in men. Weak pelvic floor muscles make the control of urine and feces difficult.
7 Yoga Poses to Strengthen the Pelvic Floor
1. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
- Stand on the yoga mat with feet close together or hips width apart.
- Place hands on the hips and slowly lower the hips into a sitting position.
- Push tailbone downwards towards the heels of the feet.
- Lift arms upwards at an angle towards the ceiling.
2. Birthing Pose (Malasana)
- Stand straight with feet on the opposite edges of the yoga mat.
- Bend the knees and slowly lower body into a yogi squat.
- Close palms together and let it rest in front of the chest.
- Let the elbows are resting on the inner thighs.
- Straighten the spine and lift the crown of the head upwards.
- Breathe slowly and deeply.
- Hold the pose for a minute.
3. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana) with a yoga block
- Lie down on the yoga mat with hands in the side and bended knees.
- Walk feet backward until the tip of the fingers brushes with the heels.
- Keep the feet hip-width apart and place a yoga block between the thighs.
- Lift hips upwards and press shoulders on the yoga mat.
- Hold hands together and keep them on the floor.
- Squeeze the yoga block between your thighs.
- Hold pose within 5 to 15 breaths.
4. Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)
- Stand straight with feet on opposite edges of the yoga mat.
- Bend the knees and while keeping spine stretched.
- Lift arms up at shoulder level and bend the elbows to about 90 degrees.
- Open palm and fingers in front.
- Keep eyes forward and hold the pose for about 6 breaths.
5. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
- Stand straight with feet about 4 feet apart and arms on the side of the body.
- Lift arms up with palms down at shoulder level and stretch arms outwards.
- Turn the left foot to the left at 90 degrees and turn the right foot slightly to the right.
- Bend the left knee so that it is in line with the left ankle.
- Push the tailbone towards the pubis and look at your left hand.
- Hold the pose for a minute while breathing steadily.
6. Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
- Lie on the yoga mat and relax the neck and the head on the mat.
- Bend hips and move knees towards the belly.
- Keep knees a little bit wider than the torso.
- Hold both feet with hands and push knees towards the armpits.
- Keep shins straight at 90 degrees while gently pushing feet against both hands.
7. Cow Pose (Bitilasana)
- Start in a tabletop pose on the yoga mat.
- Align the knees with the hips and alight the wrists with the arms.
- Keep head in a neutral position while gazing at the floor.
- Push the tailbone towards the ceiling and push your belly towards the floor.
- Lift head forward and return to the tabletop pose.
- Repeat for about 10 times while inhaling and exhaling during each step.
Like all other yoga exercises and poses, these poses should be done under the guidance of a guru or yoga teacher. Avoid doing these poses if experiencing an injury or after surgery. These poses should not be forced on the body and are practice to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. If pelvic floor problems are still being experienced, it is still advisable to visit the doctor and ask for medical advice.