Constant stress can negatively affect our health and wellbeing. For a woman, the consequences of having cortisol and adrenaline constantly pumping through her body impacts her viability to conceive. These ‘fight or flight’ hormones, in excess, compromise the ability to get and stay pregnant. Think of it this way, if you’re constantly running from the imaginary Saber-tooth tiger, your body has the instinct to survive and stay alive. In the presence of stress, it is as if your hormones as saying, “Quick, close and secure the doors to the precious ovaries. It is NOT safe to release an egg here.” Make sense?
Unfortunately, stress is a part of everyday life. Thus, women (and men for that matter) would greatly benefit from the practice of Yoga. Yin classes like Prenatal and Restorative Yoga brings a fresh supply of oxygen to the body and also calm the mind to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Yoga also allows the mind and body a chance to recover from being overloaded by the ‘fight or flight’ mode and thus enhance the hormones of fertility and conception and maintain a healthy pregnancy.
At YogaWorks, we have a full schedule of classes for prenatal yoga, restorative, Iyengar and Hatha yoga, which would be appropriate for women trying to conceive.
By no means do I suggest doing yoga is the one and only tool to assist with fertility, but rather it can be used effectively in concert with other modalities such as acupuncture, herbs, proper nutrition, and sometimes the assistance of fertility medical treatments. No matter your journey through conception, the benefits of yoga are countless.
Here is a list of a few poses, which are beneficial for fertility:
1) Upavistha Konasana and Parsva Upavistha Konasana – Improves circulation to your pelvis, regulates menstrual flow and stimulates the ovaries.
2) Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand) – Regulates emotional stability and balances the hormones.
3) Viparita Karani – This pose calms the nervous system, brings blood flow to the abdomen and balances the endocrine system. (Or try this variation).
4) Baddha Konasana – Brings blood flow to the ovaries and alleviates heaviness in the abdomen.
5) Savasana – Corpose pose relieves anxiety and nervous tension. It can calm the nervous system allowing the body to move into rest and digest mode, which encourages an internal environment for conception.
Patricia Grube is a pre/post-natal yoga instructor at Yoga Works South Bay. She is a certified birth doula and childbirth educator. Patricia has authored many articles and has an upcoming book, Bumps in Motion – Pregnancy Yoga Sequences From Around the World. www.serenitybirth.com. Follow her on Twitter @Serenitybirth1