Benefits of Yoga for Preconception & Fertility
Constant stress can negatively affect our health and wellbeing. For a woman, the consequences of having cortisol and adrenaline constantly pumping through her body impacts her viability to conceive. These ‘fight or flight’ hormones, in excess, compromise the ability to get and stay pregnant. Think of it this way, if you are constantly running from the imaginary Saber-tooth tiger your body has the instinct to survive and stay alive. In the presence of stress, it is as if your hormones as saying, “Quick, close and secure the doors to the precious ovaries. It is NOT safe to release an egg here.” Make sense?
Unfortunately, stress is a part of everyday life. Thus, a woman (and men for that matter) would greatly benefit from the practice of Yoga. Yin classes like Prenatal and Restorative Yoga brings a fresh supply of oxygen to the body and also calms the mind to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Yoga also allows the mind and body a chance to recover from being overloaded by the ‘flight or flight’ mode and thus enhance the hormones of fertility and conception as well as maintain a healthy pregnancy.
For women preparing to conceive and wish to practice yoga to assist in their fertility efforts, can seek classes in Restorative, Yin, Iyengar and gentle Hatha yoga.
By no means do we suggest doing yoga is the one and only tool to assist with fertility, but rather it can be used effectively in concert with other modalities such as acupuncture, herbs, proper nutrition, and sometimes the assistance of fertility medical treatments. No matter your journey through conception, the benefits of yoga are countless.
Although there's no research showing a direct link between yoga and fertility, some studies have found that yoga does have benefits for those who are trying to conceive. Yoga relieves stress, which can negatively impact your ability to get pregnant. Some experts also believe that specific poses can help promote baby-making by increasing blood flow to your pelvis, stimulating hormone-producing glands, and releasing muscle tension.
A compelling study by Alice Domar, PhD, of Harvard Medical School at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital supports this notion of increasing fertility by reducing stress. In 2000, Domar conducted the study on a control group and found that 55 per cent of infertile patients were able to conceive and later give birth within one year of participating in her 10-session program, which included introduction to yoga and meditation, along with other relaxation techniques and acupuncture. In a control group, just 20 per cent of participants were able to have babies. Domar later opened the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health.
Here is a list of a few poses, which are beneficial for fertility:
1) Upavistha Konasana and Parsva Upavistha Konasana – Improves circulation to your pelvis, regulates menstrual flow and stimulates the ovaries.
2) Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand)* – Regulates emotional stability and balances the hormones.
3) Viparita Karani – This pose calms the nervous system, brings blood flow to the abdomen and balances the endocrine system.
4) Baddha Konasana – Brings blood flow to the ovaries and alleviates heaviness in the abdomen.
5) Bhujangasana (Cobra)* – This is an important asana that strengthens your back muscles while stimulating hormone production in the uterus. Lie on your stomach. Later, lift your upper body portion by putting your weight on your hands. Raise the upper body and look up.
6) Janu Sirsasana (one-legged forward fold) – Janu Shirasana is useful during pregnancy as it will strengthen your lower back muscles. When properly executed, this yoga pose is very relaxing and releases tension from the lower back. It effectively stretches the calves and the hamstrings, making them very supple.
7) Adho Mandukasana (Frog)* - The benefits include an increased openness in your hips and reproductive area, not to mention much-needed grounding and centering. Frog pose is a fertility tune-up. Stay in this one for a while and breathe through your nose. Focus at a spot in between your thumbs and just breathe.
8) Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (supported bridge)* - This is a tough yogic pose. This asana requires you to lift your pelvic region up while keeping your buttock muscles firm. When the pelvic area is thrust upwards, both the energy and blood flow get circulated to the uterus and ovaries. 9) Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold)* - stimulates the ovaries and uterus. The forward bend stretches the muscles at the lower back, hips and hamstrings.
10) Uttanasana (standing forward fold)* - Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression. Stimulates the liver and kidneys. Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips. Strengthens the thighs and knees. Improves digestion. Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause. Reduces fatigue and anxiety. Relieves headache and insomnia.
11.) Utkata Konasana (Goddess pose) and Malasana Squat - is a very empowering pose. It is essential for your fertility yoga practice, as it stimulates the reproductive areas by increasing the energetic flow (chi) to your hips and pelvis. It makes you proud to be a woman.
12) Savasana – Corpse pose relieves anxiety and nervous tension. It can calm the nervous system allowing the body to move into rest and digest mode, which encourages an internal environment for conception.
Pranayama: Bhramari Pranayama (Bee breath): The Bee breath instantly relieves the body of tension, anger and anxiety. The chances of conception are better with a more relaxed body and mind.
Note: While some of the poses are considered great Restorative poses, the poses marked with an asterisk (*) should not be done in pregnancy. Some poses can be done with props and support.
For private yoga for Fertility sessions please contact me Patricia@serenitybirth.com. To learn more about how to improve your own fertility or for yoga teachers, sign up for the Preconception/InFertility Module at Beach Cities Yoga schedule for April 2020.
Module 3: Preconception/Infertility (8 hours) $275Saturday 4/4 12-8 (8 hours)