What is Yoga for Fertility? How does it work? How does it differ from “regular” yoga? These questions inspired me to study and write about Yoga for Fertility and how it can help women conceive.
Since many women are postponing a family in order to pursue travel, career opportunities and an active social life in their twenties, now acupuncture, herbal remedies and Yoga for Fertility are coming to forefront as valuable alternative tools for women hoping to conceive.
The valuable health benefits of yoga are well-documented. Now research is starting to show that yoga enhances fertility naturally. Yoga for Fertility:
- Helps regulate the endocrine (glandular/hormonal) system.
- Adapts poses according to the phase of the woman’s monthly cycle.
- Balances the masculine and feminine energies within the body (also called yin/yang).
- Stimulates the ovaries during the first half of the monthly cycle.
- Increases blood flow to the heart and pelvic areas.
After taking synthetic birth control for years, it can take months for the body to regulate the menstrual and hormonal cycles. Once a woman starts to feel and understand her natural rhythms, it becomes easier to anticipate ovulation and the prime conception window. Certain poses are helpful to stimulate the ovaries and promote healthy egg production during the first half of the cycle (from the first day of the period to ovulation). Other poses encourage implantation of the egg during the second half of the cycle (ovulation to period).
But does it work? In a Harvard Research Study, Dr. Alice Domar assigned “infertile” women to one of three groups: a control group, a peer-support discussion group or a mind/body group that received training in yoga and meditation. Her study showed that the women who practiced mind/body techniques became pregnant at a rate almost three times that of the control group. Within the year following the program, 55% of the mind/body group became pregnant, compared to only 20% of the control group. The evidence is clear that yoga, meditation and visualization help women open the 2-way communication channel between mind and body. This aids in fertility and healthy pregnancies.
Because Yoga for Fertility is a relatively new idea in the West, it can be challenging to locate a qualified yoga instructor. Here are a few poses that you can safely practice at home to begin boosting your own fertility now.
This pose is very beneficial for creating space in the rib cage and abdomen. It activates the major energy channels in the front and back of the body. It opens the heart chakra, which can become blocked during stressful situations and/or disappointments.
- Cat-Cow Circles
This is an organic circling motion of the upper body that starts to open the 2-way communication channel between the body and the mind. There’s no wrong way to do this movement. Just listen to your body and move through the tight spots to find relief.
- Downward-Facing Dog
From a fertility perspective, this pose opens the energy channel between the heart and the uterus. According to the Chinese medical tradition, free flowing energy in this channel is essential for successful conception to occur.
This pose is considered a partial inversion, so it should be avoided when on your period.
- Half Locust
In locust pose, you cup both hands and place them on the lower abdomen. As you lay on the floor face down and raise one leg at a time, this abdominal pressure of the low belly stimulates the ovaries. It helps the body move energy and fresh blood to the reproductive center.
This pose is best during the first half of the cycle and before ovulation. It should be avoided during the strongest flow days of your period and during the second half of the cycle when we want to support implantation and avoid compression of the abdomen.
- Legs up the wall
This is probably the most relaxing pose for enhancing fertility. By placing your hips very close the wall and allowing your legs to passively rest on the wall, you create a gentle inversion that floods the abdomen and organs with fresh blood. It also rejuvenates the legs after long hours of sitting, standing or working. Additionally, toxins are removed from the blood stream as blood flows into the lymph glands of the groin. The intense relaxation of this pose calms the central nervous system and regulates hormones of the endocrine system.
Again, inversions are not recommended during menstruation, so cobbler pose would be a better choice during flow days.
Whether you are actively trying to conceive or considering a family in the future, Yoga for Fertility is a perfect place to start boosting your fertility naturally.
Resource: Yoga for Fertility: A Journey to Health and Healing by Lynn Jensen
Photos by Lisa Lancaster