Happy 2021! I sincerely hope that you filled your first few days of 2021 with some joy.
As promised, let’s start off the new year with part II of “When pelvic floor meets yoga 2.0”
Last month, I talked about all the glorious ways that you can use yoga as a pelvic pain management tool and how yoga influences the gut. If you missed it, check out the December blog here: https://hudsonvalleypt.com/2020/12/16/when-pelvic-floor-meets-yoga-2-0-pelvic-pain-and-the-gut/
This month, I shift the focus to improving core and pelvic floor strength with yoga.
If you suffer from:
Low back pain
Urinary or fecal incontinence
Diastasis recti abdominis (DRA)
Pelvic organ prolapse
Just to name a few
Keep reading on….and if you haven’t already, consider seeking out the expertise of a trained pelvic floor physical therapist.
**disclaimer: think of yoga as an adjunct and tool for pelvic floor strengthening rather than the solution to any of the complex issues listed above**
Three ways yoga helps your core and pelvic floor
I’ve said it in many blogs past, but breath is everything.
Your pelvic floor and diaphragm move together. As you inhale, the diaphragm lowers down with your pelvic floor. As you exhale, the diaphragm rises with the pelvic floor.
You need that movement to absorb the impact of everyday activity like getting up from a chair or picking up your toddler to higher impact activity like training for your next ironman triathlon.
Yoga really gets your diaphragm moving with its combination of breathwork and movement.
Moving on from the last point, movement is key.
A stiff pelvic floor is not a strong pelvic floor.
But the pelvic floor does not float inside the pelvis.
Your pelvic floor has very close intertwined relationships with all those surrounding muscles. Think hip rotators, glutes, abdominals, hamstrings, inner thighs etc.
For example,tight hamstrings pull your pelvis into a posterior tilt. A tucked under pelvis changes tension on your pelvic floor muscles and has been linked to worsening pelvic organ prolapse symptoms.
You don’t live life lying down on our back. Your muscles need proper load and challenge so that they can support you through all your daily tasks.
Yoga asanas (postures) take you into a variety of positions oftentimes at the end range (lengthened positions) for many muscles.
The common mistake
Kegels all day…every day.
Yes, you can incorporate kegels during a yoga practice to really challenge your pelvic floor.
But, holding a kegel the entire class is not the solution.
To properly engage your pelvic floor, you need the ability to contract AND relax the muscles fully.
A short, tight pelvic floor is not very strong.
Instead, try incorporating kegels into transitional movements like moving into downward facing dog. Once you make it to down dog, take a big breath in and release the tension.
Or while holding a warrior II, exhale and engage just for a few breaths.
How to get your namaste on
Ready to take your core and pelvic floor strength to the next level?
Visit our wellness page: https://hudsonvalleypt.com/health-and-wellness/ to explore our pelvic floor focused yoga offerings and other wellness classes we offer.