Kegels vs Yoga
When it comes to your workout, exercising your pelvic floor probably isn’t part of the routine. But it should be, because a strong pelvis is linked to good balance, a healthy bladder – and even with better breathing. “The pelvic floor works together with your diaphragm like the movement of an undulating jellyfish,” explains Leslie Howard, an Oakland, California-based yoga instructor who specializes in pelvic-floor health.
The pelvic floor consists of muscles, ligaments and nerves that act like a hammock to support your organs. Most of us think we need to tighten these muscles (with Kegels, for example), but that’s not always the case. According to Howard, some women have overly tight pelvic floors, because of bad posture or long periods of sitting, for example. “A lot of people have to learn how to release their pelvic floor before they can do any kind of strengthening exercise,” she says.
Another typical problem is the imbalance between the left and right sides of the pelvic floor, which could be caused by always crossing the same leg, or standing on the same leg and throwing your other leg out to the side. For example, a sport like soccer might contribute to this.
Think you can fix pelvic floor issues with Kegels alone? Think again: “Most women have heard of Kegels, but in my experience, hardly anyone is doing them well or correctly,” Howard points out.
The good news: Doing yoga is one of the best ways to improve pelvic floor health. Read on for five yoga poses recommended by Howard.