Yoga for fertility

I thought I would provide a few tips on how yoga can help in this fertility party a lot of us have going on, or anyone interested in yoga in general. I wrote an article on this for another website recently, so will summarise it here.

It all boils down to your body and mind needing to be in the best shape possible. Whether you want to increase or maintain your health and wellbeing for this time of your life, yoga can be a great aid and companion.

According to doctors, one of the greatest obstacles to fertility is stress, which has been shown to reduce the probability of conception.  Ever heard those stories about couples who had tried for years to conceive and after “giving up” or adopting, have fallen pregnant? I’ve heard those stories too. What yoga offers above all is relaxation, and research shows that participating in a “mind-body” type of program – which is exactly what yoga is – can positively affect fertility.

The classical definition of yoga is that it “stills the fluctuations of the mind”* – when our minds are busy worrying about what might have been or what could be in the future, we lose touch with the present moment, with the body, the breath and the self. Yoga is very effective in pulling you back to the now.

For women struggling to fall pregnant, the stress can be overwhelming. Yoga also teaches that suffering is caused by attachment to outcomes, and this is never more true than when trying unsuccessfully to fall pregnant, or through the slog of IVF treatment.

Yoga for fertility programs generally concentrate on the stress-relieving and relaxing effects of a practice, so if you can find a yoga studio that offers “restorative” yoga, get there quick-sticks. Restorative yoga usually involve using props such as bolsters, blankets, belts and chairs to support some well-known poses so that the body and mind are free to completely relax.

But renowned yoga teacher Geeta Iyengar, daughter of BKS Iyengar, also advocates a number of poses that have beneficial effects on the reproductive system.

Her recommendations include poses that stimulate the thyroid such as

Sarvangâsana

(shoulderstand). Dysfunction of the thyroid gland can upset the balance of the body’s reproductive hormones.

Sarvangasana, sometimes called the “queen of all asanas” (headstand is the king) is believed to directly affect the thyroid, due to the firm chin lock (also known as jalandhara bandha) which increases blood supply. Geeta Iyenagr also says the pose also develops “the feminine qualities of patience and emotional stability”. Anyone need patience, much?

Other poses with similar, chin-locking effects and which are suitable for beginners are setu bandha (bridge pose) and janu sirsasana (head-to-knee pose).

Poses that bring increased circulation to the pelvic region and reproductive organs are also recommended. Try baddha konasana(bound angle pose) and

Supported Supta Baddha Konasana

Image by tarnalberry via Flickr

supta baddha konasana for similar benefits but with the added bonus of being supremely relaxing.

Supported supta virasana (reclining hero pose) also opens the pelvic region and ensures circulation. I find this one almost impossible though as it’s too strong on my lower back – but everyone’s different.

While I can’t guarantee you will fall pregnant by following any of this, it can certainly have a positive impact on your mental and physical health.

If you’ve never done yoga before, I recommend you head along to your local yoga studio to get expert guidance from an experienced teacher, rather than trying these by yourself.

*Yogas chitta vrtti nirodah

PS. If you do want to know more, just leave me a comment. I can “talk” you through a few poses – supta baddha konasana is easy to do at home and really relaxing.

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3 Comments

Filed under IVF, yoga, yoga poses

3 responses to “Yoga for fertility

  1. A must read article for those couple who can’t conceive or having difficulties to get their wife pregnant. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Hi, thanks for the recommendations. I have been trying to re-start my yoga practice after some supreme laziness. It’s good to know that I am kind of on the right track!

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