10 Yoga Poses to Avoid for Pelvic Floor Safe Exercises

Yoga PosesAre you unsure which Yoga poses to choose for your body?

If your pelvic floor is weak or not working well, some Yoga poses are best avoided.

This general information is intended to help you continue enjoying your Yoga practice and protect your pelvic floor.

It’s important to remember that those Yoga poses appropriate for some women may not be suited to others depending on individual risk factors for pelvic floor injury.

Prolapse Exercises e-Book

International best selling prolapse exercise guide for women with prolapse and after prolapse surgery.

Prolapse Exercises Book

Prolapse Exercises teaches you how to:

  • Exercise safely after prolapse surgery
  • Reduce your risk or repeat prolapse
  • Avoid unsafe exercises
  • Choose pelvic floor safe exercises
  • Reduce your risk of prolapse worsening
  • Improve prolapse support
  • Increase your strength and fitness
  • Strengthen your core
  • Lose weight

Yoga Pose 1 – Boat Pose

Boat Pose Yoga

This is an intense abdominal core strength pose.

Try to avoid Yoga poses involving double leg raises if your pelvic floor is weak or at increased risk of injury.

Yoga Pose 2 – Half Boat PoseHalf Boat Pose

Modifying Boat Pose with bent knees doesn’t make this pose a pelvic floor safe exercise – it remains an intense upper abdominal core exercise.

Yoga Pose 3 – Garland PoseGarland Pose

Deep squat position compresses the abdomen onto the pelvic floor increasing pressure and strain on the pelvic floor organs and muscles.

Yoga Pose 4 – Scale PoseScale Pose

Weight bearing through the upper body involves the abdominal muscles working intensely – this pose is best suited to individuals with good upper body and pelvic floor strength.

Yoga Pose 5 – Plank

Plank Pose

Full Plank pose is an intense core abdominal pose. This is a very challenging exercise for a pregnant woman’s pelvic floor to withstand!

Some women may find that they can modify Plank pose to reduce pelvic floor loading.

Yoga Pose 6 – Wide-Legged Forward Bend

Wide-Legged Forward Bend

Deep forward bend increases the downward pressure of the abdomen onto the pelvic floor muscles and organs.

Yoga Pose 7 – Chaturanga

Chaturanga Chaturanga or Yoga push up to Plank involves intense core abdominal muscle activity.

Some women can modify Chaturanga to reduce pelvic floor loading by kneeling rather than weight bearing through the feet as shown above.

Yoga Pose 8 – Locust Pose

Locust PoseWomen with prolapse problems often report increased prolapse symptoms (bulging) associated with this pose.

Some women report increased prolapse symptoms associated with doing this pose however this remains anecdotal.

Yoga Pose 9 – Fish Pose (Legs Raised)

Fish Pose Legs Raised Fish Pose with legs raised increases pressure within the abdomen that is transferred to the pelvic floor.

To modify this exercise perform without legs raised for a pelvic floor safe alternative to this double legs raised pose.

Yoga Pose 10 – Crow Pose

Crow Pose

Intense upper body strength exercise … and it’s wise to avoid doing any Yoga poses on the ledge of a balcony!

This list of 10 Yoga poses that may increase pressure on the pelvic floor is by no means exhaustive.

Some women have sufficient pelvic floor strength and function to perform these Yoga poses without straining their pelvic floor.

Other women with weak pelvic floor muscles, prolapse problems, after prolapse repair surgery or with pelvic floor muscle tension may find that they benefit from avoiding or modifying these poses.

Read on for 7 Pelvic Floor Safe Yoga Poses

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  1. Hi Michelle
    I bought your InsideOut book after prolapse surgery. Since then and recently I have had a mid-urethral sling operation. Can I still follow the recommended exercises in that book? Are there any other exercises I should be wary of?

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Yes Maree indeed you can when you have your doctor’s approval to return to general exercise. The book is very comprehensive in terms of what to avoid – please feel most welcome to send through any other exercise activities that you feel uncertain about doing, all the best!

  2. My vaginia has changed sence prolapse and surgery. It is wider. Is this normal. And it seams my urithia is in my vagina opening.

  3. I am a 57 post menopause woman mother of three. I have been doing yoga since i was sixteen. I clean houses for a living and took up jog walking about seven years ago the times a week about two miles. Last week after my last jog walk i had a fallen prolapse bladder it is a stage two a week later can’t see the gyno for another week. But i was desperate to keep it from becoming a stage three and protruding out of my vagina so i created my own pessary using a small English cucumber peeled inserted part way like a plug to hold the bulge back and then securing it with supportive underwear and a large maxi pad to keep it in place while i walk. Not working is not an option so i have to clean houses. I am being much more careful bending and squatting. Lifting and moving while I’m working. The cucumber is keeping the bulge from getting worse until ican get a pessary although it’s not very comfortable.i rev used a small bell pepper as a plug. I hope it’s safe so far no toxic shock which I’m not sure is applicable to vegetables! All joking aside it’s a life altering physical problem. I would suggest any woman over 40 ish and that’s had children to be very cautious about taking up jogging as i am thinking that it exacerbated the prolapse. I will dearly miss jogging as it is so strengthening and healthy but at this point after i see the Dr i will only be biking without strain from now on. Thankyou for your advice on yoga postures which i have had to modify my practice. The forward wide bend was All this time injuring my floor muscles ugh! ! Thankyou much for your web page!

  4. Thank you so much for this article and the one on safe yoga poses. I have done yoga most of my life and actually realized that some of these poses would aggravate a weakened pelvic structure when I felt something wrong while doing a sitting forward bend. Since then, i was afraid to do much yoga. You have brought it back into my life. Thank you! Thank you!
    Thanks also for Inside Out. it gives me everything I need.
    I passed on your website to my gynaecologist. She was impressed with all the information and safe exercises and said she would refer her patients to it.

  5. Yes, it helps very much! Thank you. I will try to be patient about getting back to cardio. I have to remind myself it has only been 5 weeks since I discovered the problem, 4 weeks since my initial exam, 2 weeks since my sonogram and follow up exam, and 1 week since my first physio appt.

    I don’t feel ready for going to the gym (although I read your article on cycling and look forward to trying that later), but is it too early for swim or aqua exercise? I am hoping it would have an antigravity effect and still let me move my stir crazy body not just safely, but helping lift my insides while I exercise.

    I simply cannot thank you enough for this treasure of a website. Add to that the ability to ask you questions, and WOW, what a phenomenal resource you provide!

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Susan
      Yes it’s early days for you and you’ll be managing this lifelong just take your time, listen to your body and do what feels right for you.

      Yes swimming and water walking are great options to start with (no butterfly though).

      Be mindful of not contracting your pelvic floor constantly – this is not the appropriate way to use your pelvic floor muscles and can lead to pelvic floor tension which can be debilitating. Do your strengthening exercises and your pelvic floor support will improve with time allowing you to do more.

      I am really glad this information helps you out – thanks so much for letting me know.


  6. Thank you for this article on yoga. It is great exercise, but I had no idea some of the poses could cause pelvic floor overload!

    Right now, I feel like I can’t do anything because of my prolapse, though. Maybe you or some readers can help me figure out what to do.

    Do any of you have tips for how to use a tampon effectively as a pessary? I might be stage 4 cystocele because I actually saw the front of my vaginal wall even with my vaginal opening. Since then I have seen my Gyn (exam looked fine, but I was laying down, so everything had receded back to place), the sonograms also looked fine (again, I was in my back). Your website taught me how to do Kegels, which I did for about a week before I saw a physio. She has me doing 10 slow plus 10 quick Kegels 3 times every day. She said I could start walking for exercise again, and if that is not comfortable, to try a tampon. I rolled it in coconut oil, but I had trouble inserting, it wasn’t comfortable (not in far enough maybe?), and it felt rough and dry, like it was stuck to my vaginal wall, when I extracted it. Now I feel chafed and wonder if I made things worse. I am trying not to be discouraged. I used to walk 3 miles a day several times a week, plus floor exercises with light weights at home. I am doing your video (thank you!) but I miss cardio very much. if I could get this tampon thing down, I would get to it! I wonder, could I try swimming? Would the buoyancy help so I wouldn’t even need a tampon for support?

    Thank you.

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Susan

      The issue with using a tampon as a pessary is the risk of toxic shock syndrome so prolonged use is not advisable. Really it might be used as a simple test only however a proper support pessary should be fitted by your gynaecologist or pelvic floor physio. It sounds as though vaginal dryness could be an issue so it would be advisable to avoid retrying the tampon until you feel healed. Some women find that the better quality non toxic vaginal lubricants can assist with vaginal dryness and there are also products available for women specifically for vaginal dryness – they must be free additives and harmful preservatives.

      Lubricants aside, tampons are not designed for use as pessaries – best to get a pessary fitted.

      Hope this helps

  7. Michelle, I can not thank you enough for this site. In November 2014 I had a hysterectomy and Bladder sling surgery. Ten days after I was cleared by my surgeon for exercise I began Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher training. Luckily because of a different issue, I had to really ease back in to my practice extra slow and careful. My surgeon was not famliar with the Vinyasa poses so the only pose she advised against was Garland pose. I am so thankful I found your site. I have drastically changed my practice and hope to avoid any further strain to my pelvic floor. My focus for my yoga teaching is to share the fact that we can all do yoga with some modification.I also shared this info with my sister who has had to have bladder sling surgery 2 times and is due again. Once she stopped doing planks and crunches she feels less pressure on her pelvic floor.
    Thank you again,

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Madelaine
      Thank you – yes I agree, I think it’s such a shame when women think that they can’t exercise because of their pelvic floor problems when in actual fact some simple modifications can often help them proceed without any trouble at all.

  8. Michelle,
    I had prolapse surgery years ago and iver time the prolapse has returned. The GYN who did the surgery said I should have a hysterectomy. Is that common? I haven’t done it yet because it seems drastic and I plan to get a second opinion.


    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Colleen
      Yes I think you’re wise to get a second opinion if there’s something your unsure about or that doesn’t feel necessary. Hysterectomy rolls easily off the tongue but it is major surgery.
      All the best

  9. Hi Michelle
    I’m 5 months post op of a hysterectomy. I was thinking of going to a yoga class. Should I not do those poses either. I hope my pelvic floor is strong. Should I not do those poses? How do I know what is safe? I’ve been healing great but I don’t want to mess anything up

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Sylma
      There’s a link at the end of this post to safe Yoga poses you might like to look at to help you out plus take on board the exercises I have listed here. These are the ones that may have potential to cause you strain. Take things slowly after hysterectomy, if you notice any symptoms stop and change the pose to another or modify it.

  10. Hello Michelle,
    I´d like to know your opinion about inversion tables that use the power of gravity to reverse uterine prolapse, as a complement to your exercises. Thank you.

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Fran
      Unfortunately inversion tables won’t reverse a prolapsed uterus. The cause of the prolapse is stretched ligaments and tissues that hold the uterus in its normal position. Once stretched these tissues remain stretched (if you imagine overstretching elastic or gum that will give you an idea). The reaaon that inversion tables will give some women some temporary relief is that the antigravity position just lifts the uterus back up in the pelvis. After a few hours of walking around and being upright the uterus will come back down again. Increasing the pelvic floor muscle strength and support from beneath for some women will have long-term benefit for improving support.Does this answer your question Fran?

  11. Hi again Michelle. I apologize I mat not have sent in my comment correctly for you to respond to my question above. About specific yoga poses? You have so much great information on this site. Thank you.

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Shari
      Regarding appropriate Yoga poses you can start with this post – I should have it directly linked from within this post I will get this done meanwhile here are some pelvic floor safe Yoga Poses I think this answers your questions aside from folding forwards bend. There’s no information about folding forward bend and potential strain on the pelvic floor; it’s not an intense core abdo exercise which is good however we do know that bending forwards and lifting from the ground increases pressure on the pelvic floor. Folding forwards bend is an unknown quantity at this stage. Shari I believe there are indeed plenty of pelvic floor safe Yoga poses that women can do. Do you think you’d like me to post more on these options?

  12. Hello Michelle, thanks so much for your information on yoga. Is there any chance you will do a yoga/pilates style dvd. I have both your other dvds and books that I refer to frequently. Keep up the great info much appreciated, Sue.

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Sue
      Yes every chance – I am onto it & thank you. The new strength & core DVD should be out in the next month too.
      All the best

  13. Michelle — cI have been practicing yoga for the last four years and have loved it — I believe it has helped me heal from other chronic health issues. Now I come to realize I may have been exacerbating what I did not know was pelvic organ prolapse. It’s made me wonder why we dont educate more women about this since it seems so prevalent – and why no one ever talks about it And way I am wondering if yoga is really out for good – I go see some specialists this week but my symptoms are pretty severe right now. Can you tell me about these poses??? – down dog, folding forward bend, child’s pose, the warrior series standing poses, sun salutations, cobra. If I could do these basics it would help. If I cant it doesn’t seem there is much left.

  14. Susan Sanders says

    This is an important post. My experience with yoga was nil, and I am fortunate to have found a yoga studio with a knowledgeable pelvic floor instructor who can guide me.