Holistic Fertility Primer: Fertility Yoga

Do any of the following statements apply to you?  If so, you may want to read further to learn why joining a fertility yoga class would be a good first step for you on the fertility journey. 

  1. I feel completely out of control of my fertility journey.
  2. All my friends are pregnant or have children so I feel very isolated from my peers.
  3. I experience mood swings as a result of the hormonal medications I am taking.
  4. I’m having trouble sleeping.
  5. I am struggling to find a way to be healthy and active while trying to conceive.
  6. I’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis or PCOS.

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above,  joining a fertility yoga class is a great way for you to enter the world of holistic fertility treatments.   Read the reasons why below:

1.  I feel completely out of control of my fertility journey.

Studies show that stress is the number one reason that women drop out of insurance-paid medical fertility treatment.  In our yoga classes we use non-religious philosophical teachings from yoga to re-frame the fertility journey, focusing on tools to release stress and doubt, and emphasizing your innate ability to heal.  Studies have also shown that women who use a yoga-like coping mechanism of “letting go” of control have higher rates of IVF success. 

2.  All my friends are pregnant or have children so I feel very isolated from my peers.

There is something magical that happens when women come together and share their experiences.  We call this magic our “sacred sauce,” but it’s no secret.  Research consistenly shows that being part of a community improves both mental and physical health outcomes, and specifically, research has shown that women who participate in mind/body support groups have better IVF success outcomes.* Yoga has also been shown to reduce anxiety.

3.  I experience mood swings as a result of the hormonal medications I am taking.

Yoga can combat the side-effects of hormonal medication in a number of ways.  First, many women complain of bloating, discomfort and weight gain as a result of fertility meds.  The gentle stretching of a yoga routine encourages the movement of fluids out of bodily tissues into lymph vessels for excretion.  Also, yoga has been shown to increase levels of “feel good” neurochemicals that can combat stress and depression. 

4.  I’m having trouble sleeping.

Sleeplessness has many causes, including lack of physical exercise, caffeine/alcohol intake and stress.  During the day we can control our “monkey-mind” by distracting ourselves with work and activity.  At night, when the lights go out, our mind is free to play the “fertility-nightmare-theater.”  What-if’s, regrets and nightmare scenarios loom spring to life when we close our eyes.  Insufficient sleep can also raise cortisol (stress hormone) levels and has been associated with infertility.  Yoga’s gentle movement, breathing and mindfulness techniques stimulate our body’s “rest, digest and nest” (parasympathetic) hormonal response.

5.  I’m struggling to find a way to be healthy and active while trying to conceive.

When you’re trying to conceive, strenuous exercise is not recommended.  This means that many women who control their stress with high impact, high intensity exercise are left feeling stuck.  Yoga, because it involves a blend of movement, strength and balance can provide a vigorous workout that is low impact but has a high impact on fitness.  Unlike other forms of exercise which primarily promote blood flow to the large skeletal muscles, yoga promotes blood flow to the internal organs of digestion, reproduction and elimination. 

6.  I’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis or PCOS.

Both endometriosis and PCOS are associated with inflammation, a condition that can be harmful to our body tissues, our immune system, and potentially our oocytes.  Stress exacerbates inflammation and new research suggests that women who practice yoga regularly may be more resistant to the physiological impacts of stress.   Women with PCOS have also been shown to have higher levels of sympathetic tone (the hormones associated with the “fight or flight” stress response). 

Fertility yoga is also easy on the pocket book.  If you join a fertility yoga class at Pulling Down the Moon you will learn techniques that will serve you well over the course of your fertility journey and beyond.  If the class is too expensive or not geographically possible, you can always check out a book or video and begin practice on your own. 

As always, if you have any questions regarding fertility yoga, please post your comments here.  Experts are standing by!  Be present, be positive…become a fertility yogini!   

*Domar et al.  Presented at the American Society for Repro Medicine conference

Categories: Fertility

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