These easy-to-do stretches for pelvic floor health will help loosen and strengthen the muscles in and around the core and pelvis. When performing these movement, you can expect to feel to feel a stretch but should not feel pain – if you do, slowly ease out of the position.
Stretches are most effective when performed on a regular basis. Aim for every day, or several times a week in order to see the best results.
These stretches are beginner level, and come from traditional yoga practices.
To perform these stretches, have a comfortable size open space on a floor, with or without a yoga mat. Some poses can be modified for comfort using a rolled mat, blanket, or towel.
Relax into the child’s pose and feel the stretch through legs, back, and torso.
Kneel on the floor, touching your big toes together and sitting on your heels. Next, separate your knees about as wide as your hips, making space between your knees. With a deep exhale, lower your torso to sit between your thighs. Feel your back widen as your torso sinks down, and feel a stretch down your back as your tailbone lengthens.
This is a resting pose. Ease into the pose until comfortable and hold it for anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes, breathing deeply as you go. To come up, lengthen the front torso, inhale deeply, and lift from the tailbone.
Feel the stretch through your body, lifting yourself to a comfortable height.
Lie prone on the floor with your feet next to each other, flat, with their tops to the floor. Spread your hands on the floor beneath your shoulders and keep your elbows tucked to your body. Then press the lower half of your body firmly to the floor, and with a deep inhale, straighten your arms and lift your chest to a comfortable height. Keep your body firm but not tight, and feel the stretch as it distributes evenly through the length of your spine. Hold the pose for 15 to 30 seconds breathing regularly and when you’re ready, exhale and ease yourself back to the floor.
A modified squat, this pose drops the pelvis low and widens the hips.
Squat with your feet close together, heels flat on the floor (if you can’t keep them flat, support them with a rolled mat or towel). Separate your thighs slightly wider than your torso, and with an exhale, lean forwards to tuck your check between your thighs. Finally, press your elbows against your inner knees and bring your hands palm together, fingers pointed upwards. Feel the stretch through your body, and hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Inhale, straighten the knees, and stand.
Happy Baby Pose
Laying on your back with your legs up stretches the body from the spine to the toes.
Lie flat on your back, and with an exhale, tuck your knees to your belly. Inhale and hold the outer edges of your feet (if you can’t reach, use a strap to help). Next, open your knees slightly wider than your torso, and bring your feet towards your armpits. Position your ankles directly over your knees and flex your toes for a good stretch down the legs and into the hips. Gently push your feet into your hands to create resistance for as long as is comfortable.
Reclined Butterfly Pose
The reclined butterfly pose stretches the core, hips, and legs.
Lie back on mat or floor with legs bent at the knee and feet grounded. Keep your feet together and tilt the knees out to the sides by rotating the hips outward, then bring the soles of your feet together. Open your legs and hips as far as you can, within your flexibility and comfort. Keep your hands at your sides or rest them on your abdomen.
Hold the pose for anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes, allowing the hips to relax into the position. If you experience discomfort in your neck, use a rolled towel to support it.
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Half lord of the fishes is a side twisting stretch that strengthens and elongates the torso.
Sit with your legs straight in front of you, buttocks supported by a mat, blanket, or towel. Begin by bending your knees, setting your feet on the floor, and then sliding the left foot under the right leg to the outside of the right hip. Move your right foot over your left leg and set it on the floor next to the left hip, the right knee pointing directly up.
Exhale and twist towards the right thigh, pressing the right hand to the floor directly behind the right buttock, and placing the left upper arm to the outside of the right thigh. The front of your torso and inner right thigh should be pressed snugly together.
Press the right foot into the floor, loosening the groin and stretching through the torso. Lean your upper shoulder back slightly to continue the stretch. Now turn the head to whichever direction is comfortable. With each inhale, try to lift your sternum a little more, lengthening the stretch from torso down through pelvis.
Simple stretches for pelvic floor health
Use these simple stretches on a regular basis to stretch and tone the muscles of the pelvic floor and core. With time, you should notice a decrease in tightness and discomfort and an increase in flexibility.
The stretches listed here are part of a traditional yoga practice, which can be a gentle and effective choice for those seeking to improve flexibility and increase strength. The American Osteopathic Association lists the many benefits of yoga here.
These stretches are part of an effective pelvic floor physical therapy routine, and can easily be done at home. Contact Body Restoration Physical Therapy of Roslyn Heights today to begin your journey towards optimal pelvic health and function.