The prostate gland, found only in men, is located at the base of the bladder and is responsible for secreting the alkaline fluid within semen during ejaculation. As men get older, the prostate can become enlarged, and they are likely to experience benign prostatic hypertrophy, which puts pressure on the nearby urethra and subsequently can cause pain when urinating. It can also lead to a frequent need to urinate and a feeling that the bladder is never completely empty. Yoga, including the Boat, Bound Angle and Recline Big Toe poses, can strengthen the pelvic floor and core muscles and help prevent the swelling and enlargement of the prostate, thus decreasing the risk of urinary tract problems.
How Yoga Can Help
Yoga, which incorporates strengthening and stretching exercises as well as deep breathing and meditation, can help men strengthen and relax their pelvic floor muscles. It also helps to decrease the stress placed on the prostate by improving blood flow and respiratory function, regulating hormone production and improving the efficiency of digestion and elimination. A 2013 study published in Integrative Cancer Therapies concluded that while regular yoga didn't make a significant impact on the clinical health of prostate cancer survivors, it was beneficial to survivors because it caused them to be more relaxed and led to significant improvements in stress, fatigue and mood.
To perform the Boat pose, sit on the floor with your legs extended. Place your hands on the floor behind your hips and push into the floor as you lean back, bend your knees and lift your feet off the floor. Your torso and thighs should both be angled 45 degrees from the floor and creating the shape of a letter “V.” Lift your arms forward from the shoulders so that they’re parallel to the floor and your hands are just outside your knees. Begin by holding the pose for 10 to 20 seconds and build up to one minute.
Bound Angle Pose
The Bound Angle pose helps increase blood flow to the pelvis, kidneys, prostate and bladder. To perform the pose, sit with your legs extended in front of you. Exhale as you bend your knees and pull your heels in toward your pelvis so that the bottoms of your feet touch each other. Drop your knees down to the floor. Use your forefinger and thumb to grasp each big toe and lean forward at the waist, keeping your spine straight. Hold the pose for one minute.
Reclining Big Toe Pose
The Reclining Big Toe pose stretches out your hips and hamstrings, which can relieve stress on the back and pelvis, thus lessening pressure on the prostate. Perform the pose by lying on your back with your legs straight. Exhale as you bend one knee and pull it in to your torso. Loop a strap around the arch of your foot and hold the loop’s ends with your hands. Inhale as you extend your knee so that your leg points vertical. Hold the position for one minute and then repeat on the other leg.
- Photo Credit Jeremy Maude/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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