Men’s Health Special: Clerkenwellbeing’s Dave Dayes discusses prostate health and how yoga may help to keep this gland functioning as it should
Yogi Dave Dayes takes a look at prostate health, possible warning signs, and the potential preventative and rehabilitative benefits of yoga.
The prostate is a gland in men which is the size of a walnut. It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra (tube that men ejaculate and urinate through) and its main job is to make semen.
Tell-tale signs of prostate issues
The first signs of a potential problem could be when urinating becomes hard to start and stop, and the stream of urine is not strong. There could also be the feeling of needing to urinate frequently, and as the prostate enlarges it starts to restrict the flow through the urethra.
At this point we as men should stop procrastination and visit the doctor for examination which should involve a blood test which will measure the PSA level. What most men run from is the internal examination which involves a finger up the anus to feel the prostate and if it is enlarged.
Enlarged prostate is referred to as BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) and then there is also Cancer of the Prostate. It’s important to remember that the embarrassment of the examination is nothing compared with not knowing if you have a problem with enlargement or a cancerous prostate.
Those most at risk
The data is still coming through but so far it’s men over 50 that are at risk and Black men in particular. Then we see figures for Asian men in Asia being quite low risk, but those same Asian men living in the West now join the ranks of the high risk. The thinking and research points to diet and lifestyle, but lets not forget that the environment also has an effect.
Treatment for a prostate which has become enlarged or cancerous, has come on leaps and bounds and there are plenty of chemical fixes and worse case scenario, the gland can be removed. The side effects are sometimes debilitating (e.g. low libido or difficulty in having an erection and maintaining it), but weighted against battling with malignant cells for example, which can cause serious health issues, each person has to make a choice.
So where does yoga fit in?
There has been much research quantifying the effects of yoga practice for men recovering from prostate cancer and enlarged prostate, and the results make for interesting reading.
The prostate is located in the pelvic region and if through yogic or other exercise we are able to increase the amount of blood entering this area, we are onto a good thing. Regular practice of yoga has been shown in clinical trials to reduce the incidence of erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence and another by-product is the positive psychological effect of yoga.
We know that yoga can work on a holistic and ‘wholistic’ level if the practice is in place before any complications arise and has worked as a protective shield, but it can also potentially aid recovery after intervention by chemical or surgical procedure.
Poses for men seeking to maintain a healthy prostate or restore balanc after intervention
The poses listed in the Iyengar schools aimed at men seeking to maintain a healthy prostate or restore some balance after intervention are listed below:
- Half moon pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
- Cobblers Pose (Baddha Konasana)
- Hero Pose (Virsasana)
- Reclining Big toe (Supta Padangusthasana)
- Head to Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)
- Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
- Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
- Kegals (Mula Bandha) – engaging the pelvic muscles and stopping the flow of urine
Further poses of the restorative nature are as follows:
- Viparite Dandasana – on a chair with leg support
- Supta Virsasana – on a bolster
- Supta Baddha Konasana
To find out more about Clerkenwellbeing, the benefits of yoga or to join one of Dave’s classes, click here.