If you have urinary incontinence, you don’t have to resign yourself to suffering through it for the rest of your life. Instead, yoga can help you manage and improve your symptoms with its combination of pelvic floor-strengthening poses and its relaxation aspects. Try these yoga techniques to see if they help you:
Similar to Kegel exercises, many yoga poses help you gain strength in your pelvic floor muscles, which can help incontinence symptoms. A Yoga Journal article explains that yoga can actually strengthen more muscles within the pelvic floor than Kegel exercises can. Also, the article notes that relaxing the pelvic floor is necessary along with strengthening it, and yoga poses can provide both components.
Try these yoga exercises to strengthen and relax the pelvic floor muscles:
- Seated Lifting: Sit in a cross-legged position on the floor. Breathe deeply from your belly, and as you inhale, notice your pelvic muscles moving toward the ground; as you exhale, notice them moving up. Focus on extending the relaxation of the muscles as you inhale and the lifting and strengthening as you exhale.
- Cat-Cow Pose: Go into a hands and knees position on your yoga mat. As you inhale, extend your spine as you lift your head, chest and tailbone. As you exhale, bring your head down and arch your back. Move back and forth between the movements along with your breathing.
- Garland Pose: Squat on your yoga mat with your feet and knees just outside your hips. Bring your torso between your thighs and your elbows inside your knees with your palms together. Stay in this position up to a minute. Put a folded mat or blanket under your heels if you are unable to bring them down to the floor.
- Additional Poses: Many additional yoga poses can strengthen or relax the pelvic floor. The Women to Women website explains that yoga exercise can help in general because a lot of the poses strengthen the core muscles and in turn, engage the pelvic muscles. For more poses that target the pelvic floor to relax or strengthen it, try Legs-up-the-Wall pose, Reclining Big Toe pose, Reclining Bound Angle pose, Two-Footed pose and Corpse pose.
Relaxation and Awareness Techniques
In addition to the poses in yoga, this practice can help you relax your body and pay attention to it. The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that relaxation techniques can help you extend the time between your trips to the bathroom. A yoga class that includes a meditation or deep breathing component, such as Hatha yoga, will provide relaxation. Slow and gentle yoga classes can also provide relaxation during the poses component of the class.
Yoga also facilitates an awareness of the mind and body, which can help you learn the signs of incontinence, and work on retraining your bladder. It can also help to counteract stress and deal with emotional concerns that can be related to incontinence.
Yoga is a natural treatment method that can improve pelvic floor muscles and control symptoms of incontinence. Try these yoga poses and other techniques to see if they help you strengthen and relax your pelvic floor to improve your symptoms.