Fertility is closely associated with the overall well-being of the person. In both men and women, stress, anxiety, and other such aspects play a vital role in fertility. Yoga has proven to be quite a useful way to enhance fertility, not just by reducing stress and making you healthier. There are quite a lot of other benefits of yoga too.
Yoga has been a popular wellness activity among people of all age groups. Yoga has been shown to help people manage a variety of health issues. Unlike other exercise routines, Yoga not just influences the outside of the body. Through the various asanas or yoga poses, you can influence the functioning of internal organs and regulate hormone production.
Yoga prepares your body and mind for pregnancy in more ways than one. If you are trying to get pregnant (TTC) either naturally or via fertility treatments such as IVF, yoga practice could give you a lot of benefits. In this blog, we will discuss some of these benefits and the specific yoga poses to practice daily to battle infertility and better your chances of being pregnant. Read on!
How Does Yoga Help with Fertility?
There are quite a lot of studies out there that link yoga with successful pregnancies. One study showed that those undergoing fertility treatment using advanced reproductive technology such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and IUI had a higher success rate when they were practicing yoga.
However, not all forms of yoga are equally good. Generally, moderate exercise is what doctors recommend to infertility patients. Strenuous exercise can lead to inflammation and cause more problems than what it solves. So gentler yoga practices such as restorative yoga and hatha yoga should be preferred over the more strenuous forms of yoga such as ashtanga or vinyasa.
Here are some of the key benefits of practicing yoga.
A Good Exercise
Moderate exercise has a big bearing on fertility. Doctors consistently advise men and women undergoing fertility treatment to exercise regularly. Weight gain is of significant concern in women as it disrupts hormone levels and adversely affects ovulation.
Practicing simple yoga asanas can help keep your body active and can also keep your weight in check. Regular movement improves flexibility and increases muscle strength which can aid in better metabolism and body function.
Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Stress, anxiety, and depression are common among those who are TTC. It is a very emotional journey and there are often setbacks that can really affect the mental state of both partners. These can be big roadblocks along with other medical reasons in the fertility journey. Extended periods of stress cause an increase in the production of cortisol and this can affect ovulation.
Yoga is a great exercise to relieve stress and promote better mental well-being. Specific yoga sequences designed to reduce stress can be very effective. Studies show that people who practice yoga regularly have lower levels of stress and show lesser signs of depression.
Increases Sperm Production
Men often struggle with a reduction in sperm count and quality and this can lead to trouble in conceiving. Various factors cause this. Yoga might help you if you or your partner is facing issues with low sperm counts. Some asanas help stimulate the internal organs improving hormone balance in general and sperm production.
Hormones are communication links between the brain and the various organs. An imbalance in hormone levels can disrupt the regular function of the body and cause infertility. Issues such as PCOS are common in women where hormone levels are disrupted. Yoga is a powerful tool to help with this. By regulating stress and stimulating the hormone glands, yoga poses can help balance hormone production. It also helps improve the interaction between the hormones and the brain as well.
What are the Yoga Asanas to Practice for Better Fertility?
Yoga has a lot of asanas or poses. You should be focusing on some specific ones to boost fertility when you are TTC either by natural means or through fertility treatment. Here are some important yoga poses that improve your chances of conceiving.
The Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
This pose helps in relaxing the inner thigh muscles, hips, and groin where a lot of stress is held usually. To practice this pose, lie on your back first. You can use a pillow or practice this without one. Bend your knees and spread them outward and bring the soles of your feet together. Spread your arm to the sides with the palms up. Breathe slowly while lying down in this position for 3-4 minutes. For beginners, you can start with 10-15 breaths and then slowly increase the time in the pose to 3-4 minutes.
The Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Bhujangasana is a great pose to stretch your upper and lower back. This can improve blood flow to your uterus and the ovary. Begin this pose lying face down on the mat. Plant your hands on both sides of the chest area with the palms down, keeping the elbows close to your body. Inhale and push up against the floor and lift your torso until the navel area. Contract your navel area as well when rising up. Hold this pose with normal breathing for about 20-30 seconds and then exhale and come down. You can repeat this a couple of times. Be sure not to hold your breath while you are in the cobra pose.
The Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
The bridge pose is a very powerful asana that does a lot. It stretches your chest, neck, spine, and hips, stimulates thyroid glands, calms the central nervous system, and improves the circulation of blood to the reproductive organs.
Begin by lying on your back. Keep your arms on your sides with the palms facing down. Bend your knees by keeping your feet apart at least as wide as your hips. Now inhale and press through your legs and lift your hips, navel, and chest while keeping your shoulders and head pressed to the ground. Keep your knees over your ankles and get the thighs as parallel to the ground as possible. Hold this position for 5-10 normal breaths. Exhale and slowly release the position and lie down on your back again.
Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
This pose is great for increasing the blood flow to the pelvic area and strengthening the pelvic floor as well as relaxing the vaginal walls. It can also help with tired legs and neck as well as in reducing high blood pressure and stress levels. To practice the leg up the wall pose, sit down on our back next to a wall. Lie down slowly and lift your feet and place it along the wall.
Your leg should be perpendicular to the body, Move as close to the wall as possible to achieve this. Keep your arms stretched on your sides with the palms facing up. Stay in this position for 5-10 minutes while breathing normally.
Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasana)
The warrior II pose strengthens your hips and helps in stretching your hamstrings, thighs, and shoulder. It helps a lot with issues related to infertility too. Here’s how to practice this pose.
From a standing position, put one foot forward facing ahead. The back foot should face towards the side. Bend your front knee by pushing forward. Stretch your arms to the front and back. Focus on looking at the tip of the hand in front and hold this position for a few breaths. Relax and move back to a standing position and repeat this posture on the other leg.
Hand Under Foot Pose (Padahastasana)
Padahastasana is a great pose that stimulates the spinal nerves, improves metabolism, and alleviates stress. Start by standing with your feet close together and your arms by your side. Now from this pose, bend forward at the hips until your fingers reach the ground. Fold forward as best as you can so that your palms can rest on the floor and can be placed beneath your toes. Bring your forehead as close to your knees as possible. For beginners, it may be quite difficult to completely rest the palms on the ground or to touch your knees with your forehead. Consistent practice can help you get there. Hold the position for a few deep breaths and then return to your standing position.
What’s the Best Way to Practice Yoga?
Yoga is great for reproductive health and battling infertility. The best way to practice regularly and safely is to attend a yoga for fertility class or consult a yoga teacher who can advise you on what poses to practice. At RHWC, we appreciate supplemental fertility treatments like yoga.
Yoga videos are another way to go but you have to be careful when you practice especially if you suspect pregnancy. Not all poses are suitable for pregnant women or people who are TTC. Joining a yoga program will certainly help you understand and correct the poses and once you are confident in doing it yourself, you can practice these poses at home.
RHWC has helped hundreds of prospective parents fulfill their dreams of having happy families through our fertility treatment programs and wellness initiatives. Get in touch with our expert doctors today to schedule a consultation!