Kegels aren't your only option!
You know that uncomfortable feeling you get when you have to pee really bad and don't think you can hold it much longer? If you want to prevent a, uh, accident from happening, strengthening your pelvic floor muscles—which run horizontally between your sit bones (the ones at the bottom of each butt cheek) and vertically between your pubic bone and tailbone—is crucial. After all, your pelvic muscles support your bladder, bowel, and uterus.
Pregnancy, childbirth, and age can cause your pelvic floor muscles to weaken, which can lead to incontinence and painful sex. Your pelvic muscles also play an important role in sexual function, namely in achieving orgasm.
"If your pelvic floor muscles are too weak—or on the flip side, if they're too tight—there's a greater chance you'll experience painful intercourse and inability to orgasm," explains Karly Treacy, a Los Angeles-based yoga teacher. "Orgasm is a response of muscular contractions, and the stronger and more flexible a muscle is, the more likely it'll be to 'fire' or contract," Treacy says.
The good news is that strengthening your pelvic floor is easy and can be done through a variety of exercises and stretches. These exercises below are also highly restorative, helping you breathe more fully and relax deeply. And when you do, you stretch the diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles. Here are Treacy's go-to moves for strengthening your pelvic floor.
Time: ~20 minutes