3 Yoga Poses That Replace Kegels

There is an enjoyable way to strengthen your pelvic floor — promise.

3 Yoga Poses that Replace Kegels
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We all know how beneficial Kegel exercises are — they strengthen the muscles responsible for everything from preventing embarrassing leaks to achieving better orgasms. But just because they're good for us doesn't mean we actually do them. (Story of our lives.) For one, it's hard to remember to do them regularly. And even though they're not physically challenging, that doesn't mean they're fun... Until now, that is.

Instead of awkwardly doing Kegels at your desk (and avoiding eye contact for fear someone will figure out what you're doing) or in the bathroom, you can strengthen your pelvic floor in a much more memorable, enjoyable (and socially acceptable) way: by practicing yoga. Sharon Aluma, creator of Organic Vinyasa Yoga, has three moves to get you started.

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1 Head-to-Knee Foward Bend

3 Yoga Poses that Replace Kegels
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Head-to-knee pose — or Janu Sirsasana A — is the precursor to Janu Sirsasana B. Both poses activate the deep muscles of your pelvic floor.

The move: Starting in dandasana (staff pose) with both legs extended, draw your right foot in toward your inner left thigh. Place your right heel near your perineum (the area just below the vulva) with the arch of your right foot on the inner thigh of your left leg. Feel connected to the base of your seat. On an exhale, fold forward to touch your toes (if you can't touch your toes, hold a strap around the base of your extended leg) and remember to keep your central core active to support your lumbar spine.

Hold for five or more breaths and pay attention to the connection between your heel and perineum. Repeat with the other leg.

2 Garland Pose

3 Yoga Poses that Replace Kegels
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For this pose, beginners should keep their feet wider apart, but "over time your feet will be completely together," says Aluma.

The move: Squat, bringing your feet as close together as possible, and open your thighs a little wider than your torso. If your heels don't touch the ground, roll a blanket under your heels so your feet feel fully grounded. Press your elbows against the insides of your knees and bring palms together in front of your heart. While your elbows push out against your knees, gently push your knees in toward your elbows.

Hold for five or more breaths while keeping your core engaged and staying aware of your thighs and pelvic floor.

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3 Downward Facing Dog (With Block)

3 Yoga Poses that Replace Kegels
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"This pose is a base structure for all other postures. With a block in between the thighs as a tool, you'll be able to better access your pelvic floor," says Aluma.

The move: Start in table pose (hands directly under your shoulders, knees under your hips) with a yoga block (or a thick book or rolled up towel) between your thighs and the base of your toes rooted into the earth. From the centerline of your leg, squeeze the block with your thighs. On an exhale, lift your tailbone toward the sky and into downward dog pose. Keep your hands and feet firmly planted and extend the pelvic floor down through the feet.

Hold for five or more breaths while lengthening your spine and keeping your pelvic floor engaged.

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