Doing Yoga Has An Unexpected Effect On A Man's Prostate Health

What comes to your mind when you think of yoga? Skinny women wearing see-through tights? Former ballet dancers contorting themselves into pretzel-like poses? Or how about those beefy, shirtless guys doing handstands on a cliff in some exotic location?

Then, of course, there's yoga for the rest of us. Beginner yoga classes might challenge you to balance on one foot. Other classes might jack up the heat to 100-plus degrees while you balance on one foot. Yes, there's a yoga class for just about any demographic or condition, including prostate health. This is more than bro yoga, and there's some research behind it.

In a 2022 study in Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases, 29 men diagnosed with prostate cancer practiced hatha yoga, breathwork, and pelvic floor engagement for six weeks before their surgery. Yoga improved their quality of life, particularly sexual function, fatigue, and well-being. On a cellular level, yoga improved their bodies' natural immunity and suppressed inflammation to fight off cancer. But yoga can also help boost your prostate health, even if you don't have cancer.

Yoga relieves symptoms of an enlarged prostate

Although the prostate gland is the size of a walnut, it grows larger as a man ages. A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test measures the protein that could signal potential issues with the prostate, such as an enlarged prostate, inflammation, or prostate cancer. An enlarged prostate can pinch against the urethra, causing urinary problems such as incomplete bladder emptying.

A 2017 case study in Yoga Mimamsa involved two older men who had symptoms of an enlarged prostate. They took part in a yoga program that included a series of breath practices, standard yoga poses, and pelvic floor exercises. After a month, both men's prostates decreased in size, and their PSA levels dropped. One of the men improved his urine volume. However, this was a small case study.

Physical activity can lower the risk of developing an enlarged prostate, according to a 2006 article in the International Journal of Cancer. While jogging or high-intensity interval training might help, they can also stress your pelvic floor. Prostate Cancer UK says pelvic floor exercises can target urinary problems often associated with an enlarged prostate. Yoga teaches you how to strengthen your pelvic floor while holding specific poses.

Some yoga poses for prostate health

First things first, you'll need to find your pelvic floor muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. While breathing normally, contract your anus like you're trying to hold a fart. Be sure not to squeeze your buttocks. Relax for a moment, then repeat while also imagining that you're holding back a pee. Hold for 10 seconds while relaxing your breath, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat these Kegel exercises 10 times.

Bring your feet together and open your knees. As you press your feet into one another, squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. This is called the Reclining Bound Angle Pose.

Now bring your knees back together and spread your feet about hip-width apart. If you have a block handy, place it between your knees. You can also use a rolled-up towel or folded pillow. On an exhale, squeeze the block while also engaging your pelvic floor muscles. Lift your hips a few inches off the floor, then release on an inhale. Repeat for 8 reps.

Remove the block and put it aside. On an inhale, engage your pelvic floor muscles while drawing your knees into your chest. Hold for a few seconds, then release your feet back on the floor.