The decision to have a baby is never one that’s taken lightly. There are those of us who’ve had the yearning to become mothers from when we were girls, but for others the want to have a baby may not come until much later, if at all.
For some conception comes easily, but for others it can be a long and challenging journey – taxing us on emotional, physical, mental and spiritual levels. Added to this is the reality that many relationships have only just passed their newest phase, and so both partners can be largely unprepared for what can be a very trying experience.
The practice of yoga during this time offers support on so many levels. Whether you are choosing natural conception or IVF and other Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART), here are five ways yoga can provide support and nourishment for fertility:
1. Reconnecting with the body
Yoga for Fertility has a significant benefit in its ability to help us tune into the body and support the nervous system. When trying to conceive, women can feel a plethora of emotions including disappointment, betrayal and fear. For some, this can lead to a disconnect with the physical body.
Yoga supports us to return to our physical bodies through placing our intention and attention on the movements. We notice the breath, the physical sensations and fluctuations from day to day. This can lead to greater presence, love, and acceptance for what is.
2. Increasing blood supply and circulation
Physical asana or postures can be beneficial for the reproductive organs, increasing blood supply to the area and bringing us back into a relaxed state, especially if the practice is a restorative one.
During IVF, certain asana can also be supportive of implantation, as well as reducing tenderness and bloating. This is an area explored in more detail within our Online Level 1 Fertility Yoga Teacher Training and our additional module Supporting IVF with Fertility Yoga.
3. Managing stress
There are many studies that suggest stress can play a significant part in the body’s inability to conceive, and the very experience of IVF can be stressful in itself. Yoga can be the counter balance – bringing women back to their breath, back to their bodies and back to relaxation.
“Fertility yoga really helped me calm down, destress and get into that space where I could really prioritise what I wanted. It helped me think more clearly, while also having the benefits, I believe, of slowing down my body and getting more in tune with what was going on for me.”
4. Supporting the Heart / Womb connection
Visualisations can be powerful in reducing anxiety and bringing about a welcoming mindset for pregnancy. They can also foster the heart to womb connection, which is at its most influential during conception and birth, and can greatly sway our experience of both.
Guided visualisations, such as those in our Online Level 1 Fertility Yoga Teacher Training, reduce stress and send positivity to our womb and ovaries. Feedback has shown how powerful this can be in creating a womb space that is receptive to pregnancy:
“My yoga class has been my escape in this crazy IVF world. I know without a doubt on Monday nights, I’ll feel positive, back in control of my mental state, calm, at ease and have the best night’s sleep all week.”
5. Building a support network
On a social level, fertility yoga classes offer a connection with other women who are undergoing a similar experience.
“I am so grateful for the fertility yoga class… It was through those classes that I met some amazing women who have become good friends, as we’ve understood each other’s struggles with fertility and attempts to have children, and we’ve helped normalize each others feelings through this journey. We have a unique bond and an incredible support system with each other that does not compare to any other friends, family or counsellors”.
At Bliss Baby Yoga, we come from a wealth of experience when it comes to fertility issues, and are supported by highly experienced and passionate teachers including Ana Davis, Rosie Matheson and Tanya Neate (who has personal experience with ART).
“Creating new life is one of the basic themes of the universe. New stars, and even new galaxies, are created every day. Every species of plant and animal is driven to reproduce itself, in keeping with the laws of the universe. So, at the highest level, yoga for fertility is about learning to tune into those universal laws that govern creativity, fertility, and continuation of our species.” – Jill Mahrlig Petigara and Lynn Jensen, “Yoga for Fertility”
If you’d like to learn more about how you can help women undergoing fertility challenges with yoga, or perhaps you are experiencing this journey yourself, check out our Bliss Baby Yoga Online Level 1 Yoga for Fertility Teacher Training course and our additional module Supporting IVF with Fertility Yoga. And keep an eye out for our Online Level 2 Fertility Yoga Teacher Training coming out in mid 2020.
Nadine O’Mara is our Bliss Baby Yoga Social Media and Content Advisor, and also runs her own business, Conscious Life Yoga Conscious Birth, where she provides doula support, yoga and birth education to women and their partners in Northern Sydney. Nadine also offers self care and restorative yoga workshops for mothers, mother’s circles, family yoga and retreats for women and/or families.
Quotes included were provided as testimonials from Yoga for Fertility class attendees.