Here are my top 5 yoga poses for the pelvic floor in pregnancy

Enjoy these practices to explore your pelvic floor and pelvic outlet. This is specifically useful and informative to prepare for birth but essentially important for everyone to understand our own anatomy.

Try the movements, add the pelvic floor lifts and releases, add the breath, reverse the breath and just have fun exploring.

Hands and knees

  • Keep your hands under your shoulders spreading the fingers out and grounding through the knuckles. Keep the knees aligned with the hips – they can be wider if more comfortable.
  • Find a neutral spine hugging baby/babies in slightly. Lift into your shoulders.
  • Now lift the sitting bones up towards the sky as you look up arching the spine (keep some support in the lower abdomen by hugging baby/babies). Feel the sitting bones moving slightly away from each other as the tailbone lifts away from the pubic bones.

In this position, the pelvic floor naturally stretches.

  • Now round the back up towards the sky. The tailbone moves towards the pubic bones and the sitting bones hugs towards each other. The pelvic floor is slightly engaged.

Although the physiological natural breath will expand the pelvic floor on an inhale and contract on the exhale I like to share the opposite during pregnancy. On the exhale let the pelvic floor open and relax as this is probably the breath (the out-breath) that will birth your baby/babies.

 

So with the breath:
Exhale lift the sitting bones and look up as you relax and stretch the pelvic floor.
Inhale lift spine to ceiling dropping the tailbone to the pubic bone looking down. Engage the pelvic floor.

– You can also reverse the breath. This is especially helpful after birth.

If you want to truly immerse yourself in prenatal yoga join my Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training Course – here is all the info.

Chair pose

I love this pose because it also strengthens the thighs and legs and supports your posture.

It is also an excellent way to prepare for birth. A supported variation of this pose could be a potential birth position.

Keep the feet and knees parallel and hip-distance apart. Have the knees over the heels and “sit” back.

You are essentially using the same movements and breaths as the Hands and Knees position above: Exhale and look up as you arch the back. Inhale to contract the pelvic floor as you round in. Again you can reverse the breath too. Try it both ways.

Goddess Squat

This is a powerful and strong expression. Both legs are externally rotated keeping the front of the thighs, knees and toes aligned. Keep the back in a neutral position and feel the power of your legs.

 

With straight legs, the sitting bones are close together (try and touch them) and the pelvic floor is contracted. When the knees bend the sitting bones move apart (again feel them move with your fingers) and the pelvic floor stretches.

You can do little and slow movements: engage the pelvic floor as the legs are straight and relax it as you bend your knees.

For a powerful expression and practise to release tension try this:

Inhale straighten the legs, arms above head (if comfortable).
Exhale a big loud strong HAAAAA as you bend the knees letting the pelvic floor relax.
Inhale to engage the pelvic floor and straighten the legs.
Repeat 3-5 times. Take a breath in between with the legs straight.

Pigeon pose

This one is for the experienced yoginis with no knee, hip or pelvic girdle issues.

From hands and knees slide the right knee forward keeping the knee to the right and shifting the foot to the left. There should be no pain in the knees or pelvis here. Walk the left leg back keeping the knee on the earth. Stay on your fingertips/hands or use blocks.

pigeon pose in prenatal yoga

On an inhale strongly engage the pelvic floor and imagine bringing the right thighbone back hugging it into your hip socket. And at the same time feel the left thigh bone move slightly forward. It should feel supported in your hips and pelvis as you concentrate on stability and strength. You might even feel a slight rounding of the lower back.

Exhale you allow the pelvic floor to relax and the pelvis moves closer to the earth. You feel grounded and a sense of letting go. Repeat 3-5 times.

You can settle in Pigeon Pose for a few breaths exploring the balance between flexibility and stability.

Sitting on a bolster

This may be my favourite pose. Sit on a bolster, roll up a few blanket, towels or even cushions. This position is ideal to actually feel your pelvic floor. The bolster/blankets will offer feedback as it touches your pelvis.

Once comfortable rock forward and backwards so you can sense the front of the pelvic floor near your urinary tract. Shift back becoming aware of the anus near the tailbone.

Now leaning towards the tailbone start to focus on just the anal sphincter muscle. Engaging it as if you could lift it off the bolster, and then relax it towards the bolster. Practise slowly and quickly a few time.

Leaning to the urinary tract area near the pubic bones try the same exercise: Only engaging the front of the pelvic floor and relaxing the area again.

Finally, find the centre of the pelvic floor focusing on the vaginal muscles or the perineum. Here you focus just on these muscles as if you can lift them off the bolster and relax them back onto the bolster.

Have a look at my blog for more ideas on how to find your pelvic floor muscles, this one about the breath, and here on why we need different ways of using the muscles.

There is plenty of space to explore where you are strong, where you are tight, where is the flexibility or perhaps where you can enhance your stability.

If you want to explore move pelvic floor awareness has a look at the Sacred Pelvis online course and for online Prenatal Yoga have a look here.

If you want to truly immerse yourself in prenatal yoga join my Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training Course – here is all the info.

Thank you, Lauren, from Laroma Therapies for being our pregnant yogini for these photos taken from my Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Manual.