It’s not the most comfortable of topics, but many yogis and yoginis, especially women over 40, struggle with pelvic floor issues like incontinence, prolapse, and pelvic pain.
While these issues can seem embarrassing to discuss or even acknowledge, yoga therapist Leslie Howard assures us that they are not.
In this free download, Leslie shares her own journey of discovering the benefits of yoga for pelvic floor dysfunction and how she came to develop a number of yoga practices used in research studies to help women and men with pelvic floor issues.
While seeking the cause for chronic low back pain, Leslie was surprised to discover that she had a pelvic floor issue, namely hypertonic muscles. This lead her first to practice yoga, then to develop tools for yoga practitioners and teachers to help relieve pain and maintain good pelvic floor health.
Pelvic floor issues like, e.g., incontinence are extremely common. Incontinence can show up as a constant urge to go to the bathroom – even when not necessary. And they can become an issue that affects us emotionally and socially as we get shy about getting into situations where we don’t have easy access to a bathroom.
And contrary to common belief, pelvic floor issues don’t just affect older people. They can be triggered by pregnancy and childbirth or, in men, by prostate problems.
Fortunately, there are more resources than ever to help us deal with pelvic floor issues, and yoga is one of them.
In this talk, Leslie shares some of the ways yoga can help benefit pelvic floor issues, as well as some of the common misperceptions around the issue.
The biggest misperception? That Kegel exercises are the answer to all problems with the pelvic floor.
Most people think that pelvic floor issues are caused when the muscles get too lax, and therefore need to get strengthened and tightened with Kegels.
But oftentimes, just the opposite is true, Leslie explains. Often problems are caused when the pelvic floor muscles become too tight. There can also be a mixture of muscles that are too loose and too tight.
In many cases such as these, the commonly prescribed Kegel exercises are counterproductive, Leslie notes. She talks about how we can develop a more nuanced approach to understanding pelvic floor issues and how yoga practice can help.