You might seek to improve your vaginal strength for many reasons, including childbirth, urinary incontinence and improved sexual health. Yoga features an exercise known as mula bandha that can strengthen this area. Once you learn the technique, you can practice it on its own or within yoga poses.
Beyond the Physical
In traditional yoga practice, mula bandha is not a purely physical exercise. It is one type of bandha, which are techniques to control life force energy from the ancient yoga texts “Hatha Yoga Pradipika” and “Gheranda Samhita". It works with chakras, which followers of yoga and some other belief systems understand as centers of life force energy. With this technique, you hold the energy from the root chakra found at the tailbone and send the energy upward, moving toward enlightenment.
Pelvic Floor Strengthening
On a physical level, mula bandha contracts muscles in the pelvic floor to give them strength and stability. This includes the anus, the perineum found between the genitals and the anus, and the genital muscles, so it will strengthen vaginal muscles for a woman. However, Hillari Dowdle warns in a “Yoga Journal” article that this exercise can cause problems for people who are stressed, tense or depressed if it is not done right. Work with a certified yoga teacher to perform it correctly.
Practice Mula Bandha
Put your pelvis into a neutral position and pull your lower abdomen in toward your spine. Then, contract the muscles in the pelvic floor, which is the bottom of the pelvis. To learn how to contract the muscles of the vagina, urinate and focus on stopping the flow. David Life explains in a "Yoga Journal" article that women can also insert a finger into the vagina and perform the contracting movement. You will know you are doing it correctly if the muscles tighten around your finger. Tighten the other muscles in the pelvic floor as well, which you can learn in the same way by pressing a finger on the perineum and the anus while contracting. James Hewitt, in his book “The Complete Yoga Book," recommends holding mula bandha as long as you comfortably can and releasing. Do this five times, with 15-second breaks in between.
Mula Bandha Within Poses
Mula bandha was traditionally practiced while in Adept’s pose, which you perform by sitting in a tight cross-legged position with each foot resting on the opposite inner thigh close to the groin. If that is too difficult, perform it in Easy pose by sitting loosely in a cross-legged position. Once you learn it, you can incorporate this contraction into a variety of yoga poses like Mountain pose, Downward-Facing Dog pose, Seated Forward Fold pose and Warrior II pose.