DO you experience incontinence, or urinary leaks, while sneezing, laughing or running? Yoga may be an alternative intervention for you! Our pelvic physiotherapists often include yoga breathwork and postures to help improve and manage the symptoms of various pelvic health conditions. Surprised?
Yoga is a tradition that requires focus on the entirety of the self. It is a mind-body practice that encourages integrating the spirit, mind, body and probity to achieve optimal health. (3) By turning your attention inwards to develop a higher consciousness, you gain mastery over external influences.
Yoga also encourages a heightened awareness of your physical body through postures and breathing techniques. (2)
It's been shown that incorporating yoga practices into women's routines helps manage multiple chronic health conditions. These health conditions can include and aren't limited to: lower back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence and dysmenorrhea. (3)(4)
Recently, studies have found that yoga is able to improve symptoms of urinary incontinence specifically. (4)
A study which was conducted on women over 40 years old experiencing stress-related urinary incontinence examined the efficacy of yoga as an alternative intervention to treat their condition. Women underwent a 6-week-long Iyengar-based yoga therapy program (a kind of Hatha yoga) that consisted of three breathing, postural and mindfulness practice sessions per week. (1)
Some yoga postures used in the study included Trikonasana (Triangle pose), Utkatasana (Chair pose) and Malasana (Squat pose). (4) All of these poses work to improve the body's alignment, strength control and awareness as they related to the pelvic floor. (1)
This study's findings were encouraging! Its participants reported a 71% decrease in stress-related urinary incontinence and a 70% decrease in the frequency of incontinence. This supports the argument that a routine yoga practice that is catered to treating stress-related incontinence can have successful results. (1)
As some pelvic conditions may be accompanied by orthopedic concerns, please speak with your physical therapy professional about whether or not a yoga practice is right for you.
1. Huang AJ, Jenny HE, Chesney MA, Schembri M, Subak LL. A group-based yoga therapy intervention for urinary incontinence in women: a pilot randomized trial. Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg. 2014 May-Jun;20(3):147-54. doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000000072. PMID: 24763156; PMCID: PMC4310548.
2. Frawley, David. “Pratyahara: Yoga's Forgotten Limb.” Yogainternational.com, Yoga International, 5 June 2015, yogainternational.com/article/view/pratyahara-yogas-forgotten-limb
3. Tenfelde, Sandi; Logan, Rich; and Abernethy, Melinda. Yoga for the Pelvic Floor. Beginnings, 34, 1: 24-27, 2014.
Retrieved from Loyola eCommons, School of Nursing: Faculty Publications and Other Works https://ecommons.luc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1016&context=nursing_facpubs
4. “Yoga and Mindfulness for Pelvic Health.” Physiopedia, www.physio-pedia.com