Yoga is well known for its benefits, improved fitness, core strength, flexibility, and creating a healthy lifestyle. It’s the perfect practice for finding stillness, peace and tranquility in a busy world. Yet along with many other benefits, yoga can also help you conceive by overcoming fertility and hormonal challenges.

Stress and infertility 

There are many reasons why someone may not be conceiving, including factors such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, low sperm counts, hormonal imbalances, thyroid irregularities, a poor diet, to name just a few.

One of the biggest factors however, is due to the production of the stress hormone ‘cortisol’, stimulated by the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). When our stress hormone is activated, our cortisol levels increase, causing immune, digestive, and reproductive suppression, stimulating the body’s production of cortisol over the creation of sex hormones.

If there is an ongoing exposure of the SNS, it begins to change how the endocrine system regulates sex hormones, causing issues with ovulation, egg fertilisation and implantation. Males can also be impacted by a high cortisol production, causing sexual dysfunction.

Reducing stress with yoga

While 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.

Yoga also assists your body to better manage and deal with stress, balancing the endocrine system and regulating sex hormones and reproductive health. It is the perfect practice for teaching relaxation, and therefore moving your SNS ‘stress response’ to PNS ‘relaxation response’. By triggering the ‘relaxation response’ you return a stressed-out body to a more relaxed and balanced state – bliss!

Yoga benefits for fertility

Yoga postures can regulate and influence your endocrine system, increase blood flow and vitality to your pelvic region and improve nutrient supply to your reproductive organs.

Certain yoga exercises promote the collaboration of pulmonary, digestive, skeletal, lymphatic, nervous, and endocrine systems. When our body tunes in to these systems, our natural rhythms are brought into harmony, bringing the body into pure relaxation and therefore, enhancing fertility and preconception health.

Yoga also helps to align your menstrual cycle with the moon rhythms – increasing your balance within.

How yoga poses boost fertility

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.

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.

Poses such as forward twists and bends promote nerve supply and healthy blood flow to the groin and pelvis, boasting fertility with the reproductive organs. Poses that open up the hips and pelvic region (in both the ladies and the gents) assist to break down any scar tissue and release tight muscles that might be restricting the blood flow to the reproductive organs.

In women, the increased blood flow from practicing yoga nourishes the endometrial lining, improving the possibility of a successful conception and implantation of the egg. Postures and breathing techniques practiced in yoga can also assist the endocrine glands and reproductive organs to secrete their hormones, and therefore, increase fertility.

Top five yoga poses

There are specific types of traditional yoga theories, postures, mantras, and breathing techniques to practice and increase your chances of conceiving, including:

  • Supta Baddha Konasana (supine bound angle pose)
  • Vipariti Karani (feet up the wall)
  • Paschimottanasana (intense stretch to the west)
  • Mandukasana (frog)
  • Balasana (child’s pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (supine bound angle pose)

_X8A9872_web

This is an essential posture in yoga for fertility. It’s 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. When our legs are supported in this posture with bolsters, our hips are also supported. With feet bound by the strap, the inner groin, belly and pelvic area can begin to soften.

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 fresh blood to circulate into the pelvic region and reproductive organs.
It’s also the seat of svadhisthana chakra, the second energy chakra. It includes the hips, sacrum, genitals, lower back, womb and bladder. This chakra is associated with the task of allowing emotional and sensual movement into our life. When we learn to open the energy of this chakra and essentially go with the flow we can experience sensuality, sexuality, emotions, orgasms, intimacy and desire.
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.

Vipariti Karani (feet up the wall)

_X8A9928_web

Place your pelvis on a pillow and put your legs up the wall. Vipariti Karani is considered the ‘jewel’ for women in fertility yoga.

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. It allows the pelvis to be above the heart and pools the energy like a lake in the pelvis, calming the heart and mind. For this reason, this posture is great to do after having sex. It allows blood to flow to your reproductive organs and calms the central nervous system, inducing the relaxation response along with restoring our body.

This posture is beneficial during an IVF cycle when undergoing ovarian stimulation because it helps alleviate bloating and distension. We recommend this posture during an IVF cycle, after egg retrieval and ovulation.

Paschimottanasana (intense stretch to the west)

_X8A0152_web

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 your luteal phase otherwise known as the two-week wait.

Mandukasana (frog)


_X8A0153_web This pose stretches out the inner thighs, groin and hips. It’s an intense posture that encourages deep breathing to open and release the groin.

When the hips begin to release, there is increased and enhanced blood flow to the reproductive system. It opens the heart chakra and connects a direct flow of energy into the womb. Moving energy through the reproductive organs creates a space that is inviting and receptive.

In Chinese medicine, ‘zi gong’ is the uterus, which translates to ‘women’s palace’. In yoga, the second chakra (svadhisthana) translates to ‘one’s own place’ and relates to the water element. In frog pose you can begin to visualise energy flowing freely and smoothly. When energy flows through this chakra you can bring the sexual energy back into the reproductive organs.

We recommend this pose during your menstrual and follicular phase. If doing an IUI or IVF cycle, this pose is helpful during the stimulated phase.

 

Balasana (child’s pose)

_X8A9964_web

Balasana enables the body to seek balance and 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. Visualise softness in the uterus and ovaries, allowing the flow of blood and energy to move without restriction or tension.

We recommend child’s pose throughout your entire reproductive cycle because it’s so gentle and restorative for both you and your new baby.

 

 

Practicing fertility yoga every day has many benefits:

  • Improves blood flow the uterus and reproductive organs
  • Alleviates menstrual cramps
  • Regulates your menstrual cycle
  • Balances your endocrine system
  • Softens the pelvis
  • Opens the heart and calms the mind
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Opens up the conception vessel
  • Simulates and tones the reproductive organs
  • Creates a feeling of powerful control
  • Releases tightness in muscles
  • Reduces stress levels
  • Increases happiness and promotes positive wellbeing
  • Releases emotional tension
  • Creates physical, emotional, mental and spiritual balance

TOP TIPS

– It is important to note that you may fall pregnant at any time, so it is recommended you avoid strenuous exercises or heated yoga. A good way to remember this is to treat your body as if you are already pregnant, and stick to slower paced yoga forms.

– Yoga is beneficial for the reproductive health of both males and females, so have your partner join you on the yoga mat too!

Yoga at your fingertips

I love what my yoga classes do for my clients. If you’re not familiar with yoga and are interested to find out more, I’ve recorded an excellent series of video downloads that teach you all the best yoga positions to improve your chances of conception.

Access your exclusive, digital yoga classes here

Angea Fertility Yoga Classes guided by Dr Amanda Waaldyk are designed to optimise and enhance each stage of your reproductive cycle (menstrual, follicular, ovulation and luteal).

Each one hour class is specifically designed to support fertility and hormonal health, increase blood flow to your reproductive organs, reduce stress and increase your chances of falling pregnant naturally.

Fertility Yoga Workshop

Spend an entire day dedicated to yourself. Learning to nurture, connect and support your body, hormones and fertility. We have a beautiful group of women joining together, each going through their own journey of IVF, natural fertility, endometriosis and some wanting self care. Connect to your divine feminine and inner goddess.

When: 8:30am – 3:30pm; Sunday 2nd July @ Kula Yoga, 1/47-51, Camberwell Road Hawthorn East, VIC, 3143

Cost: $199 with manuals included, morning tea and lunch

Places are limited to 14. To book, please email reception@angea.com.au