One in five couples who are trying to conceive are affected by fertility issues. Luckily, modern medicine has come a long way in helping couples who want to bear children increase their chances of becoming parents through a variety of medical interventions.
In addition to Western science and technologies, many couples compliment clinical therapies with alternative health practices. The ancient discipline of yoga is one of the most commonly turned to holistic practices that attracts potential parents-to-be who are looking for non-medical ways to enhance the chances of conceiving.
While there are currently no scientific studies that show an association between fertility and yoga, this Indian mind-body practice has powerful stress-reducing, restorative and relaxing effects that can significantly support a couple’s journey in trying to become parents. Even for couples who do not become pregnant, the practice of yoga can foster feelings of acceptance, peace and compassion that can make this difficult experience less painful.
Here is what you need to know about yoga for fertility:
From sadness to depression and from anger to frustration, when a couple is confronted with infertility issues, a host of emotions arise. Yet the stressful emotions that arise are counterproductive in increasing a woman’s chance to become pregnant. In fact, in a Harvard study, women participating in a yoga and relaxation program nearly tripled their chances of achieving pregnancy. Even the American Society for Reproductive Medicine supports the idea of using yoga and other techniques to reduce stress in an effort to enhance fertility.
Yoga for fertility uses specific postures that stimulate and tone the reproductive system, improve the flow of energy and circulation through the body, and offer balance to hormone levels.
Geeta S. Iyengar, author of “Yoga: A Gem for Women” and daughter of B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the world foremost authorities on yoga, writes extensively on women’s issues. She recommends the following poses for women to support in conception because of their alleged effects on hormones:
- Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana)
- Supported Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
- Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
- Staff Pose (Dandasana)
- Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
- Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
- Wide Angle Pose (Upavistha Konasana)
It is extremely important for any couple who is having fertility issues to have a complete physical exam by a medical doctor before beginning a yoga practice. In addition to receiving clearance from their doctors, couples should also seek out yoga instructors who work specifically with couples who experience fertility challenges. Also, many yoga schools offer classes that are exclusively for women who are trying to conceive.
It is equally important for the hopeful couple to not regard yoga as their ultimate answer to conception. There are complex and numerous issues that contribute to a couple’s fertility challenges. Yoga can offer support to the journey emotionally, mentally and physically, irrespective of whether the couple becomes pregnant or not.