While most of us have heard time and time again about the importance of pelvic floor exercises for building pelvic floor strength (and bladder control), we may not be aware that there are a series of yoga postures that can provide a great support to our pelvic floor exercise program, with the added benefit of mindfulness, relaxation and improved balance.
The pelvic floor explained
The pelvic floor is a key set of deep muscles situated in the pelvis, running from the frontal pubic bone to the base of the spine. Shaped like a basin, the pelvic floor holds all of the pelvic organs (uterus, vagina, bowel & bladder) in place, and supports the bladder to provide control when you urinate. In addition to providing control over bladder leaks, strong pelvic floor muscles can also provide you with stronger core strength in the abs, improved sexual sensitivity, and better posture, to name a few.
The pelvic floor can lose its muscle tone & control over the bladder for a number of reasons, but most commonly as a result of pregnancy & childbirth, heavy sport & exercise regimes, the menopause, natural ageing, & pelvic and prostate surgeries.
Yoga is a calming, meditative practice that can provide a great support to your pelvic floor strengthening regime. Here are our top 5 yoga postures to build pelvic floor strength. Take five at home, breathe deeply and give these poses a go:
1. Mountain pose (Tadasana)
Start by standing, with your feet hip distance apart and your hands resting at your sides. Place a yoga block (or a thick book or pillow) between your thighs. Engage your inner thighs and try to lift the block upwards.
2. Chair pose (Utkatasana)
Start in Mountain Pose (the posture above), with your arms stretched upwards, and the tips of your fingers lengthened towards the ceiling. Bend your knees, keeping your back as straight as possible, and push your hips back into a squat, as though you’re sitting down into a chair. Keep your heels connected to the floor, without your hips dipping any lower than your knees. Hold the posture for a couple of breaths. Try to lift your pelvic floor upwards, as though you were trying to hold in a wee. Straighten up again slowly. Repeat as many times as you feel comfortable.
3. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
Starting in Mountain Pose, step your right foot forwards (with your front & back foot about 1 metre apart). Lift your arms straight out to the sides so they are parallel to the floor. Keep your right foot straight, but turn your left foot out slightly so that your toes are pointing away from your body. Bend the right knee over the right ankle, keeping your left leg straight. Tighten your tummy as though you are pressing your belly button to your spine, and pull up the pelvic floor as we did in chair pose. Hold for about 30 seconds, then straighten the right leg. Hold and repeat as many times as you feel comfortable, and then try on the other side.
4. Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
Place a yoga matt or thick towel down flat on the floor. Lie on the matt on your back, and draw your knees in to your chest. Hold on to your knees, inhale deeply & exhale. Grab the outside edges of your feet, or wrap your index and middle around your big toes, and pull your knees (bent) out to the side, trying to pull the knees as closely to the floor as you can without causing any discomfort. Pull your feet back with your hands.
Tighten your tummy as though you are pressing your belly button to your spine, and pull up the pelvic floor as we did in chair pose. You can rock from side to side to give your back a lovely massage. Hold for as long as you feel comfortable, then release your legs straight to the floor gently, with your arms at your side to relax.
5. Locust pose (Salabhasana)
This posture works both the glutes, buttocks & the pelvic floor – 3 for the price of 1!
Lie on your matt or towel flat on your tummy, with your legs together and your arms at your sides. Rest your nose & forehead gently on your matt. Inhale and lift your head, chest, arms, knees and feet off the floor. Squeeze your tummy muscles, glutes & buttocks to help lift everything up off the floor. Keep your legs straight out, hold for about 30 seconds, and then gently release back down. Repeat as desired.
The wonderful thing about these postures is that they are simple to do at home, and by focusing on your breath, being mindful, and connecting with your body, you’re able to zone out & disconnect from the stresses of the day. Follow these postures with a 30-minute INNOVO session each day for the ultimate relaxation, and see a significant improvement in leaks in as little as 4 weeks1.
Strengthen your pelvic floor with INNOVO
Suitable for women and men, INNOVO is the only truly non-invasive solution for urinary incontinence, and is used in the comfort and privacy of your home. Easy to use and comfortable to wear, INNOVO helps you safely and effortlessly strengthen and re-educate the entire network of pelvic floor muscles through gentle muscle stimulation.
Using INNOVO for just 30 minutes a day/five days a week over 12 weeks has been proven to treat bladder weakness – delivering results in as little as four weeks1.
INNOVO treats Stress, Urge & Mixed Incontinence in both women and men by targeting the root cause of the problem. A clinical study found that:
- 80% of users saw a significant reduction in leaks after just 4 weeks1
- 87% of users were defined as either dry or almost dry after 12 weeks2
- 90% of users would recommend the therapy to others3
1 Soeder S, et al, A randomised, controlled, double-blind, clinical study to compare two neuromuscular stimulator devices in female stress urinary incontinence: Effects on symptoms and quality of life. IUGA Conference 2018
2 R. Dmochowski – Novel external electrical muscle stimulation device for the treatment of female stress urinary incontinence: randomized controlled noninferiority trial versus intravaginal electrical stimulation. ICS Conference 2018
3 Observational study on the treatment of stress urinary incontinence with Innovotherapy, April 2014