Courtesy of Joelle Barron

I Did Pelvic Floor Yoga To Improve My Sex Life, & Here's What Happened

By
Share
Ad failed to load

I’ve practiced yoga, on and off, for the past 10 years. Although I struggle with knowing whether or not I have the right be doing it at all, I find yoga to be incredibly restorative and beneficial for both my mind and body. I did yoga while I was pregnant, and I do yoga once a week at a local studio. And while I’ve certainly known of yoga’s potential sex-life benefits, I’ve never tried them out for myself.

Even though I didn’t end up giving birth vaginally, I still pushed (what turned out to be) my daughter’s shoulder into the birth canal for several hours. Postpartum, while doing legs-up-the-wall pose (at home, alone, thank goodness) I noticed some significant and troublesome changes to my pelvic floor. Yes, my friends: the dreaded vagina farts. It’s all fine and well to be “mature” and try to laugh it off, but vagina farts are still pretty mortifying, in the bedroom or the yoga studio. I wanted to see if there was a way to put a stop to it.

Let’s talk about queefing for a second. Turns out, queefing is caused by the displacement of the organs in your pelvis towards your diaphragm, which causes air to enter your pelvis, and that air has to come out. Some people are more prone to it than others, but I have to think that most people with vaginas have experienced queefing at one time or another. Before I had my baby, I definitely had, usually from having sex in certain positions.

Ad failed to load

There may be no way to completely prevent queefing, but strengthening your pelvic floor muscles is a good place to start, especially if you’re like me and you find kegels interminable. One of my closest friends, Erin, is a certified yoga teacher from Vancouver. I asked her if she thought yoga was a viable solution to my problem, and if she could provide me with some exercises to try. If a yoga moves held the key to a stronger, quieter vagina, count me in.

The Experiment

Erin gave me three simple poses that were easy to work into my busy schedule. All three of them are great for strengthening your pelvic floor, but they’re also simple, gentle, and accessible enough for any stage of postpartum recovery. I spent some time in each pose once a day for three weeks, along with my regular weekly 90-minute yoga class. I wanted to see if, when all was said and done, my legs-up-the-wall pose was uh, silent.

Ad failed to load

Here’s how it went.

Pose One: Tree Pose (Vriksasana)

Courtesy of Joelle Barron
Ad failed to load

Erin said:

Tree pose is amazing for new moms because you can do it on the go. It doesn’t require much warm up or contortion, and it can be done while holding a baby.

Tree Pose is a balancing pose; it helps stabilize your entire body, including the muscles in your pelvis. I’ve never had the greatest balance, so poses like this are always challenging for me. But I try to tell myself that it’s most important to practice the skills I need to improve. Sometimes I really didn’t feel like taking even a few minutes to work out at the end of a long day, but I always felt better afterwards.

Ad failed to load

Despite my balancing struggles, Tree Pose has always been one of my favorites. As the days went by, I tried to work on maintaining my balance with my eyes closed, and staying in the pose for a couple minutes at a time. I’ve never been good at the mental part of yoga; I don’t think I’ve ever been able to completely clear my mind. But when I worked at it, I would sometimes catch myself not thinking about anything for fleeting moments, which felt like a really big accomplishment.

As the days and weeks went by, I started to notice small changes in my strength and flexibility. I could hold the poses for longer periods of time, and deepen my stretch. Time for more TMI: after giving birth, I noticed that sometimes the position I slept in at night would cause my pelvis to fill up with air, resulting in you-know-what when I stood up to get out of bed. The problem mostly resolved on its own with time, but this yoga practice seemed to be just what I needed to stop it completely.

Ad failed to load

Pose Two: Triangle Pose (Trikanasana)

Courtesy of Joelle Barron

Said Erin:

Ad failed to load
A lot of people think of triangle as being primarily a stretching pose. But that’s a huge misconception. Done carefully, it’s extremely challenging, and it works almost every part of your body.

Anything that makes you stronger and more flexible must be good for your sex life, right? Triangle pose is also what’s known as a recovery pose. It’s gentle enough for women at any stage postpartum, even women who have had a C-section.

Ad failed to load

I liked Triangle Pose while I was pregnant because I found that it relieved the tension on my aching back. This time, trying the move after baby, I really tried to focus on form: hinging at the hips and not the waist, lengthening my torso, pressing my feet firmly into the ground. It was easier to properly align myself without all that extra weight pulling me down. I generally tried to hold this one for about six breaths, as Erin recommended. I found it enjoyable, but I had a hard time feeling like it was strengthening my pelvic floor because with my legs working so hard that I didn’t really notice what my pelvis was up to.

Pose Three: Easy Pose (Sukhasana)

Courtesy of Joelle Barron
Ad failed to load

Erin reminded:

Sometimes the most basic yoga poses can be the most therapeutic. This pose is accessible to most bodies, and you can do it literally anywhere, even if you don’t have your yoga gear with you.

She told me that it’s really important for your hips to be above your knees, and that for most people, that means sitting on a block. I happen to have a pretty flexible groin, so I don’t need one. Like Triangle Pose, Easy Pose is great for postpartum recovery; it’s a gentle way to get your muscles stretching after having a baby.

Ad failed to load

This is another one of my favorite poses, and it definitely lives up to its name. Again, I had a hard time understanding how it would help strengthen my pelvis. In my mind, my hips being open means that my pelvis is stretching, rather than strengthening.

“Stretching gives you strength!” Erin told me. I never knew it, but stretching is essential for building muscle. Stretching the muscle gives it room to grow.

Ad failed to load

Good sex, for me at least, has a lot to do with letting go; in order to enjoy myself, I have to let go of insecurities about how my body looks, my performance, any shame I might feel (courtesy of my Catholic upbringing). Easy Pose helps me learn to let go of my thoughts and just be in touch with my body, which is very helpful when it comes to my sex life.

Was I Able To Shape Up My Pelvic Floor?

Courtesy of Joelle Barron
Ad failed to load

I’m a single mom of an infant, so my sex life is mostly theoretical right now. But it’s still important for me to know that when the time comes, I’ll be able to avoid embarrassing situations. Even though, if I’m honest, my inner feminist gets angry that I have to worry so much about queefing. In a perfect world, any and all of my potential sex partners would be understanding enough to laugh it off, and to not blame me for a natural function of my body that I have no control over. But unfortunately, things like queefing, stretch marks, cellulite — all natural byproducts of having a baby — are often seen as failures on a woman’s part, especially with celebrities being praised on magazine covers for their magical ability to get back to their “pre-baby bodies” in seemingly no time at all.

So was my experiment a success? Yes, it totally was. I was half-thrilled, half-totally surprised when I did legs-up-the-wall pose again and no air went into my pelvis. I even tried opening up my legs while they were above my head, and still, nothing! It was pretty exciting.

Working these three poses into my daily routine wasn’t difficult at all. It only took a few minutes each day, and I was left feeling more calm and balanced every time. I’m sure the 90-minute yoga class I do one a week accelerated my results, and all bodies are different, but in general, for me, yoga has been an amazing way to heal and strengthen my body after the trauma of pregnancy and birth. I’ve never been much of an athlete, and I felt like my fitness was so depleted after pregnancy that it was really hard to even begin trying to get back to where I was pre-pregnancy. When I started doing yoga again postpartum, it was almost discouraging at first, because I felt that what I was doing was too “easy” to actually improve my fitness level. But over time, I began to see that I was making positive changes, and now I feel that I’m actually stronger than I was before I gave birth.

Ad failed to load

Now don’t get me wrong: I know I can’t expect to have killed the queef forever. But I’m relieved to know I’ve got some control over the situation, and plenty of time to practice laughing at myself.

Images: Courtesy of Joelle Barron (5), Baby Center/YouTube, Yoga With Adriene/YouTube (3)

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}