Yoga for Overcoming Infertility
by Julie Cade and Dianne Harman, Wellness Encounters
You are probably traveling many paths in your attempts to become pregnant, paths that you hope will lead you to a baby but that, along the way, may cause hormonal upheaval and emotional strain. The monthly roller coaster you experience while trying to conceive – monitoring your cycle, scheduling sex, anticipating the outcome, and then dealing with the disappointment of negative results – builds stress on many levels. Women experiencing infertility have been shown to carry stress levels equal to women dealing with life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease.
A new road you might consider exploring is the path of yoga. Yoga, with its emphasis on breathing, stretching, and relaxation techniques, has many benefits for women attempting to conceive. Important positive outcomes include:
Proper alignment and lengthening of the spine;
Improved posture and reduced compression around abdominal and pelvic organs;
Toned and revitalized muscles around the uterus;
Stimulated and balanced hormonal system;
Reduction of negative, toxic emotions;
Reduction of emotional stress and tension; and
The creation of a greater sense of well-being.
Although there is not yet any conclusive evidence that yoga increases the chances of pregnancy, there are numerous reports of women who became pregnant once they incorporated yoga into their fertility program. Practicing yoga will prepare your body for conception and a healthy delivery and baby. In addition to the general health benefits of yoga, there are certain yoga poses, done immediately post-intercourse, that increase the likelihood of conception. If for any reason, you don’t become pregnant, what you have learned from practicing yoga may better help you cope with any outcome – that is, you will likely be better able to maintain emotional balance.
Because the stress of infertility is so great, incorporating a stress reduction component into your fertility program is essential. Borrowing from the many breathing techniques of yoga, here is a simple relaxation tool to use anytime you are feeling stress or tension:
Sit or lie down comfortably.
Place your right hand on your belly below your navel.
Imagine, under your hand and in your belly, a deflated balloon.
Breathe in deeply and experience the breath inflating the imaginary balloon.
On the exhale, see the balloon deflating as you feel the belly moving back towards your spine.
Continue breathing this deep breath of relaxation for several minutes.
(More than likely you are used to breathing shallowly from the upper part of the chest; this exercise may take some practice but will reward you with a deep sense of relaxation.)
To find a yoga class in your area, check the yellow pages, community colleges, city parks and recreation programs, or the Internet. In selecting an instructor, just as in choosing a health care provider, your selection should be guided by your common sense and your feeling of comfort with both the teacher and class content.
For more information on how yoga and relaxation techniques can help you, please call us at BodyMind Workout (800) 519-0558, or visit our website at http://www.bodymindworkout.com./. Our book, “A Mind-Body Primer for Women: Overcoming Infertility,” is available.