The pelvic floor muscles hold your bladder and bowels, and keeping them strong and flexible can help with the healthy function of these organs.
Weak pelvic muscles can lead to urinary leakage, constipation, and pelvic or organ prolapse.
Today, we bring yoga poses for strengthening and relaxing the pelvic floor so you can keep it healthy, work on any existing problems, or prevent conditions in the future.
Benefits Of Yoga For Pelvic Floor
Yoga is a wonderful activity that relaxes you and connects you with your body. So, before anything, you can connect to your pelvic floor, and notice how it feels, which we rarely do in everyday life.
If you struggle with pelvic pain, yoga can relieve it. It also strengthens the pelvic muscles, which can help you gain better control if you are already leaking, or prevent problems in the future.
Strengthening these muscles will also improve your posture, while stretching them may ease lower back pain.
The pelvis is the seat of our sexual organs, and some research has shown yoga can help with sexual performance.
This area is also where we often hold tension and stress, and yoga can relieve these emotions. During the practice which involves the hips and the pelvis, we can often get emotional, because we are releasing pent-up negative energy from this area. We naturally feel more at ease afterward.
Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause:
- Leakage when you sneeze
- Urinary incontinence 1Huang, A.J., Chesney, M., Lisha, N., Vittinghoff, E., Schembri, M., Pawlowsky, S., Hsu, A. and Subak, L. (2019). A group-based yoga program for urinary incontinence in ambulatory women: feasibility, tolerability, and change in incontinence frequency over 3 months in a single-center randomized trial. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, [online] 220(1), pp.87.e1–87.e13. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2018.10.031. or poor bladder control
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Bladder leaks
- Irregular bowel movements
- Overactive bladder
- Pain in the pubic bone area
It is very common for women going through menopause or postpartum 2Li, Q. (2022). The Effects of Yoga Exercise on Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation of Postpartum Women. Journal of Healthcare Engineering, 2022, pp.1–16. doi: https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/1924232 women to have trouble with their pelvic floor. So let’a build a strong pelvic floor!
A physical therapist may recommend kegel exercises or physical therapy pelvic floor exercises either very similar to or borrowed from yoga!
10 Yoga Poses For Pelvic Floor
- Find a comfortable seated or lying position. If lying down, lifting your legs on a wall or furniture can help you move your breath to the pelvis.
- First, observe your breathing, and notice its pace and depth.
- Then, take a deep inhale, imagining it goes all the way down to the bowl of your pelvis. Allow your pelvis to relax and expand.
- Exhale slowly and gently, and feel your pelvis lifting back up and in.
- Breathe in and out through your nose. When inhaling, start with the bowl of your pelvis and end with the top of your chest.
- Repeat for a couple of minutes.
If you do only one yoga practice, let it be diaphragmatic breathing. This exercise will restore the function of the pelvis and diaphragm.It activates your parasympathetic nervous system, bringing a sense of relaxation and ease.
The pelvis and diaphragm are closely connected. Whenever we inhale through the diaphragm, the pelvis relaxes. Doing this practice can improve our breath pattern, and make our pelvis more relaxed throughout the day.
While practicing, notice if your shoulders are moving a lot when you breathe. This can mean your breath is shallow. Lying down can help you with this.
2. Child’s Pose
- Start on your hands and knees in Tabletop Pose.
- Widen your knees and touch your big toes together.
- Slowly bring your buttocks back towards the heels. Go as far as comfortable, and if they’re not touching, you can place a cushion underneath.
- Then, bring the torso forward and down, towards the floor. Reach the arms in front of you, and place the forehead on the floor if you’d like.
- Hold for a minute or two, and to deepen the work on the pelvis, breathe through the diaphragm while holding the pose.
Child’s Pose calms the nervous system and opens the back side of the body. It will relax the deep muscles in your pelvis and hips, helping you relieve any tension in this area.
This pose is wonderful for observing what’s happening in your pelvis and seeing how it feels. Find where your tension is and breathe through that area.
3. Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
- Start lying on your back and bend your knees.
- Open your knees to the sides and touch the soles of your feet together.
- Place your hands next to your body or on your lower abdomen.
- For a deeper back stretch, you can lie with a bolster or a large cushion under your torso.
- Connect with your breath and hold for as long as comfortable.
This pose relaxes the inner thighs, which are responsible for stabilizing the pelvic floor. When your inner thighs are relaxed, you will naturally activate your pelvic floor more, which will make it stronger.
This pose is great for replacing the final Savasana, or you can do it instead of Savasana. The shape of the can make you feel vulnerable, practice in a safe place and cover yourself with a blanket if needed.
4. Low Lunge
- Begin in a standing forward fold, take a moment to relax.
- Bend your knees and step your right leg behind you as far as you can.
- Keep the left knee bent and align it with the ankle.
- Lower the right knee to the floor.
- Sweep your arms up overhead, and push the pelvis forward and up.
- Don’t collapse in the hips – keep them active & keep the tailbone tucked.
- You can also begin in table top position, stepping one foot forward.
- Once you hold the pose on one side, return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
This pose is great for strengthening the pelvis floor and inner thighs. Many poses in our guide relax the pelvis, but it is also important to keep it strong.
- Start in the Tabletop Pose, with the shoulders stacked over wrists, and the hips stacked over knees. Engage your core.
- With an inhale, lift your chest and buttocks towards the sky. Broaden your collarbones and bring your shoulder blades together.
- With an exhale, curl as a cat, bringing the hips and chest towards each other. Gaze towards the knees.
- Repeat this movement for as long as you would like.
This pose tones the core and the pelvic floor. To further engage the pelvis muscles, you can squeeze a block between your inner thighs.
6. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
- Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with feet hip-width distance apart and pelvis neutral.
- With an inhale, sweep your arms up and a bit forward, maintaining a neutral spine alignment.
- With an exhale, squat down, bending your knees and activating your abs.
- Hold for up to 5 deep breaths.
- When done, move back to Mountain Pose or to a Standing Forward Bend.
This pose will strengthen your hips, which will help the pelvic floor relax in the long run, but it will also engage the pelvic floor muscles to strengthen them. In this way, it can help fix any strength imbalances between the hips and pelvis.
7. Garland Pose (Malasana)
- Stand with your feet a bit wider than hip-width apart and open the big toes out.
- Bring your heart to center, and squat down as deep as you can, bringing the buttocks close to the floor.
- Press the elbows into the inner knees and keep the spine long.
- Hold as long as you feel comfortable, then release.
This pose can release a tight pelvic floor.
If your heels don’t touch the ground, you can place a rolled blanket beneath, and you can also support your hips with a bolster or a block.
8. Tree Pose
- Start standing in Mountain Pose with feet hip-width distance apart and gripping the floor with your toes. Soften your knees.
- Shift your weight into the left foot, finding strength and stability. Then slowly lift the right foot off the ground and bend the knee.
- Open the right knee to the side and place the foot somewhere on the inner part of the right leg, below or above the knee (but not directly on the knee).
- Gaze to a single point to find your balance. Keep your hands on your chest in Prayer Pose, or lift them overhead for an additional challenge.
- Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.
- Bring the right foot on the floor, and repeat on the other side.
If it is difficult to balance, keep the toes on the floor and press the foot against the ankle of the other leg. You can also hold a chair or something else for support.
When you work on keeping the pelvis neutral in this pose, you will strengthen the gluteus medius and minimus in this asana. The pose can be especially helpful if one side of your pelvis is tighter.
9. Bridge Pose
- Lie on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor. Bring the feet close to your buttocks.
- With an exhale, press into your feet and lift the hips up. Press the arms into the floor.
- Hold for a breath and release back down. Repeat this cycle for a couple of times.
10. Figure Four
- Begin lying on your back with the knees bent and the feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
- Lift the left foot of the floor, open the knee to the side, and cross the ankle over your right thigh.
- If you already feel a stretch, remain here. To take it deeper, clasp the hands around the right thigh and bring it closer to you.
- Hold for a couple of breaths then release.
- Repeat on the other side.
This pose will release tension in the outer hips, low back, and glutes. Relaxing the hip rotators may decrease pain in the pelvic floor.
If one side of your pelvis is tighter, you can spend a little more time on that side.
If you’d like to work more on the hips, this article may be a useful resource: