Most of us spend our entire lives trying not to fall pregnant, and then when the time comes to actually go for it, the ease of it seems to disappear. After all, shouldn’t it be as easy as having sex and making a baby?
While knowing all the facts about how your body functions is helpful, it’s also important to support your mind and body, and this can easily be done through the power of yoga.
In traditional yoga theory, there are specific postures, mantras and breathing techniques that can improve fertility and increase your chances of conceiving.
Yoga for fertility is a series of specific postures that regulate and influence your endocrine system, increase blood flow and vitality to your pelvic region and improve nutrient supply to your reproductive organs.
Did you know that some of our endocrine glands require an increase and decrease in physical pressure to produce their hormones? Some of these glands are locked away in our pelvic area – a part of your body that might not receive much love if you are sitting in a chair all day.These specific yoga poses not only restore physical and emotional health, they release muscle tension, reduce stress, and increase the blood flow and life force – ‘prana’ or ‘qi’ – to your reproductive organs.
While fertility yoga alone may not overcome all infertility diagnoses, modern research has scientifically proven that yoga reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Yoga works to alleviate stress by triggering a little magic called the “relaxation response” hormone. This wonder-hormone reduces muscle tension, calms your breathing, slows your heart rate, blood pressure and metabolism. By triggering the ‘relaxation response’ you return a stressed-out body to a more relaxed and balanced state. Bliss.
Supta Baddha Konasana is an essential posture for ‘Yoga for Fertility’. It is a gentle, restorative posture that opens up the energy of our pelvic girdle, stretches out our inner groin and thighs, opens our heart and calms the mind. The essence of this posture is to create space and openness both physically and mentally in order to prepare for conception.
The pelvic girdle is a part of the body where we store and hold emotions. There is a lot of connective tissue that forms a web of forgotten memories and repressed emotion. When we release tension in this area with breath, we allow circulation to flow. Fresh blood can circulate into the pelvic region and reproductive organs.
The pelvic girdle is also the seat of svadhisthana charka the second energy charka. It includes the hips, sacrum, genitals, lower back, womb and bladder. This charka is associated with the task of allowing emotional and sensual movement into our life. When we learn to open the energy of this charka and essentially go with the flow we can experience sensuality, sexuality, emotions, orgasms, intimacy and desire. Yes please! As you breathe into Supta Baddha Konasana you breathe into honesty, space, opening, persistence and commitment. Releasing tension breath by breath allows freedom of movement into the pelvis. We recommend to practice this pose during menstruation, ovulation and the two week wait.
Viparita Karani (feet up the wall)
Vipariti Karani is considered the ‘jewel’ for women in yoga. Place your pelvis on a pillow and put your legs up the wall. Alternatively, you can use your hands as seen in the image.
Ladies get your feet up the wall. This asana is known as ‘inverted lake’ and is based on the belief that the blood and hormones circulate better through the body when it’s inverted. This supported inversion allows the pelvis to be above the heart and pools the energy like a lake into your pelvis, calming your heart and mind. Great to do after sex! This pooling effect not only helps increase your chances but also induces the relaxation response, calming your central nervous system and restoring your body. We recommend this posture during an IVF cycle, after egg retrieval and ovulation. It helps alleviate bloating and distension when undergoing ovarian stimulation.
Paschimottanasana (intense stretch to the west)
This posture is a master pose in fertility yoga. It has an abundance of benefits physically, mentally and emotionally.
Paschimottanasana stimulates the ovaries and uterus and strengthens the function of the entire reproductive system. It feeds oxygenated blood and life force to the pelvic region. This seated forward bend stretches the muscles at the lower back, hips and hamstrings. Forward bends induce a peaceful state of mind. When the heart and head are lower than the spine it calms the entire nervous system, reducing stress and alleviating depression.
This pose can be practiced during all four stages of your cycle. We recommend doing this during your period, follicular phase, ovulation and the two-week wait.
Uttanasana (standing forward bend)
Forward bends allow your mind and body to literally ‘let go’. Uttanasana is a wonderful pose to get out of your head. This asana makes us drop our head below the level of our heart, causing blood to flow to our brain rather than our feet. When this happens, it gives our body and cells a rejuvenating boost of oxygen, which calms our mind. As a result this relieves anxiety and stress, which is so important during fertility. Forward bends also activate our neuroendocrine axis, activating the pituitary gland, hyptohamlamus, thyroid and adrenal glands, which brings the hormones and endocrine system into balance. You can practice Uttanasana during all four stages of your reproductive cycle.
Balasana (childs pose)
Balasana is a gentle and restorative pose that enables the body to seek balance and to release tension. It relaxes and calms the mind and body while lengthening the entire spine. Initiating the relaxation response in this pose releases lower back tension, menstrual cramps, PMS and helps to normalise blood flow throughout the entire body.
Dr. Amanda Waaldyk, a renowned Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, founded Angea Acupuncture and Yoga (Angea) clinic in 2007. Dr. Amanda specialises in fertility, helping thousands of women (and men) achieve their dreams of pregnancy through a method she realised and termed, The Angea MethodTM in 2009. For more information on Angea Acupunture and Yoga clinic, or to book a consultation with Dr. Amanda or one of her practitioners, visit her website. You can also follow Angea onInstagram and Facebook.