Whether we complain to our girlfriends or suffer in silence, about 1 in 4 of us has experienced that embarrassing Um, did I just…? moment while coughing, laughing, sneezing, or exercising. The main culprit: a weak pelvic floor—something a little yoga could help fix, according to new research. Women who participated in a yoga-therapy program for six weeks experienced a 70% decrease in their incontinence frequency.
Try this simple moves, making sure to relax the pelvic floor on each inhale and contract it on each exhale. “Them should feel like you are doing Kegel exercises that are linked to your breath,” says yoga trainer and physical therapist Bill Gallagher.
4. Reclined Bound Angle
How it works: Your inner thighs aid stabilize your pelvic floor. When they’re flexible, you are able to activate your pelvic muscles more deeply.
How To Do: Lie on mat with knees bent and feet flat on floor. Bring soles of feet together and allow knees to fall out to sides. Rest arms by sides with palms up. Close eyes and breathe deeply. Hold 60 seconds.
3. Child’s Pose
How it works: “To be strong, your pelvic floor as well needs to be flexible,” Gallagher says. “These pose opens your lower back, allowing your pelvic floor to expand and stretch with each inspire.”
How To Do: Kneel with knees mat-width apart and toes touching. Walk hands forward and lower body between thighs, resting forehead and nose on mat. Extend arms and press palms into mat and hips toward heels. Close eyes and breathe deeply. Hold 60 seconds.
2. Legs Up the Wall
How it works: “The change in gravity puts a bit pressure on your diaphragm, allowing you to breathe a lot deeply and to fully relax the pelvic muscles with no fear of spillage,” Gallagher says.
How To Do: Sit on floor with 1 side of body grazing wall. Swing legs up against wall and slowly lower back and head to floor, keeping legs straight. Allow hands to fall out to sides, palms facing up. Close eyes and breathe deeply, relaxing into pose. Hold 60 seconds.
How It Works: Malasana pose lengthens the pelvic floor, allowing them to contract more forcefully.
How To Do: Stand on feet about mat-width apart, toes off mat and heels on it. Bend knees and lower into a squat. Separate thighs slightly wider than torso and press elbows against inner thighs, bringing palms together in front of chest. Lengthen spine, moving tailbone toward floor and lifting crown of head toward ceiling. Breathe deeply. Hold 60 seconds.