There are many reasons you might want to start a yoga practice to enhance your fertility.
You may have recently decided to plan a family, or add to your family and want to use fertility yoga as part of your preconception preparation. Or your plan to conceive is not happening the way you thought it would and are experiencing difficulty to conceive. You may be going through assisted fertility treatments and are looking for a way to reduce side effects of the treatments. Whatever the reason, fertility yoga is a way to support your fertility journey.
Let’s have a look at some of the benefits yoga has on fertility.
Benefits of Fertility Yoga
1. Helps to regulate your menstrual cycle.
One of the first things to do when preparing for conception is having an awareness of your menstrual cycle. Regulating your cycle is important as you need to have the luteal and follicular phases at a certain length.
The follicular phase is the time for the maturation of eggs and if it is too short there is not enough time for the egg to mature. The luteal phase needs to be a certain length for the progesterone to plump up the endometrial lining for a fertilised egg.
Every woman has a slightly different length of cycle. We may ovulate at different times. By understanding and honouring your cycle and knowing when you ovulate as well as knowing the length of your luteal and follicular phases, can be empowering in your fertility journey. There are ways to regulate your cycle and fertility yoga is one tool for this.
2. Increases blood flow to pelvic region
There are yoga poses that boost blood circulation to the reproductive organs. When the blood flows freely in our pelvic region, our reproductive organ function well. Certain lifestyle habits such as sitting all day will have an impact on our blood flow in our pelvic region. Also, a side effect of stress is tension in our muscles. By practicing yoga, we increase blood flow to our ovaries, which secrete progesterone and estrogen. The increased blood flow to the uterus means our uterine lining will receive more nourishment.
3. Increases energy and well being
Life can certainly throw us some hard knocks, and having difficulty to start a family is certainly one of the times that can really rock our core. This brings a lot of stress, emotions, and fatigue to our lives. The constant searching and trying new things, hoping for the secret ingredient to make all the difference to being pregnant – It really is exhausting.
Practicing fertility yoga over time can lower our anxiety levels and leave us with a sense of wellbeing. The restorative poses in fertility yoga help to restore our energy, relax and calm us which instills in us a sense of renewal. By really relaxing into poses, massaging away all the tension and stress, and improving blood flow, we can unlock energy stores at even a cellular level.
4. May help increase conception rates.
A study has shown the women undergoing IVF that practiced mind body techniques, including yoga and meditation, conceived at a rate 3 times greater than that of a control group. 55% of the mind body group conceived compared to 20% of the control group.
42% of the mind body group’s pregnancies were conceived naturally.
5. Reduces stress and supports the nervous system
Yogic breathing – long gentle deep breaths activate the body’s relaxation response, decreases cortisol in your body. We have all heard how stress can have an effect on our ability to conceive and is detrimental to our health. Learning how to manage our stress – because we all have it – is so important. Sometimes we do not even realise how stressed we are until we start practices to help us relax.
Many women have spoken to me about how they didn’t know how stressed they were until they started a course in acupuncture and felt the difference. Fertility yoga is another method to reduce stress and restore our body. Many poses in fertility yoga are restorative poses that deepen the relaxation response which is also key to helping us relax.
6. Calms the mind
Whatever does this mean? When we are struggling to conceive, generally we find ourselves in a heightened state of alertness. We believe there is something wrong with us, that our body is failing us in some way. We may experience a lot of negative self talk and feel very despondent. Fertility yoga uses breath techniques, affirmations and mantras.
Zita West a leading fertility expert in the UK says: “Any exercise that involves mindfulness, breathing techniques and meditative visualisation has many physical, emotional and mental benefits. Yoga is a calming antidote to any woman consumed by an overwhelming desire for a baby. The resulting stress of which becomes an impediment to conception itself.”
7. Promotes self-compassion
Self-compassion is having a deep understanding and empathy to ourselves, and the suffering we experience. This is like being a best friend to ourselves. You may experience a lot of negative self-talk when you are struggling to conceive and become quite harsh with yourself. By practicing self-compassion, we become gentler and kinder to ourselves and the struggle we face. Yoga is a mindful practice which can help us practice self-compassion.
You can practice yoga for 10 to 30 minutes as a means of improving your fertility, and achieve a sense of well being, reduce stress and anxiety. It can also help us develop a gentle, kind view of ourselves. This will bring ease and a reduction in suffering while we’re trying to conceive.