Benefits of yoga
for women's fertility
There are countless health benefits of yoga. It's thought that this gentle form of exercise can help aid the reproductive system. Fertility yoga is becoming a popular way for women to enhance their well being and therefore improve their chances of conceiving!
Yoga originated in India thousands of years ago and is described as a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline.
The term yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word “yuj”(yoke) which means to unite or join. Yoga's goal is to develop self mastery through the union of the body, breath, and our mind.
Modern society has embraced this ancient tradition as the therapeutic benefits of yoga are very well known!
If you've never practiced yoga before then you may want to know a little more about the basics before we explain how yoga can help with fertility.
The five principles of yoga
While there are many different forms of yoga, they all have the same fundamental principles.
Proper relaxation – releases muscle tension and calms the nerves, enabling the whole body to rest. This leaves a refreshed feeling which will carry over into our everyday activities. Teaches us to conserve energy and let go of all our worries.
Proper exercise – yoga postures (asanas) provide movement that we need to maintain good physical health. These techniques work systematically on all parts of the body. Strengthens our different bodily systems, enabling them to function together efficiently to promote equilibrium (balance).
Asanas stretch and tone muscles, ligaments, and tendons, plus they increase the flexibility and suppleness of our joints and spine. They're particularly helpful for the nervous system (both voluntary and involuntary body functions) as they work on the spinal cord and free the nerve ganglia of any pressure. The spine is regarded as our main channel of energy, with yogic philosophy believing this is connected with kundalini (dormant cosmic energy) and the chakras (centers of energy in the astral body). Postures improve blood circulation to enhance fuel and oxygen supply to our cells, tissues, and vital organs. This also stimulates the elimination of toxins and metabolic waste.
Proper breathing – the belief is that there's a direct connection between breath and the mind. Also known as “Pranayama” - prana (life force) and ayama (to extend). By regulating the flow of prana we learn how to take control of our mental state. Yoga breathing exercises teach us how to increase oxygen intake and recharge the body. Breathing should be full, slow, and rhythmical.
Proper diet – what we eat influences not only the body, but also our mind (both emotionally and spiritually). A yogic diet consists of nourishing, well balanced, natural foods (organic) to build up our immunity and resistance to disease. Meals should be eaten in moderation and kept simple to assist with digestion and the assimilation of nutrients. Keeps the body light, supple, and the mind calm.
Positive thinking and meditation – to remove negative thoughts and still the mind. Allows us to think clearly, be aware of the present, have a brighter outlook on life, and gain inner peace. The target here is self improvement and confidence.
What are the benefits
of yoga for fertility?
Fertility yoga is aimed to meet the specific needs of trying to conceive women, and those who may be struggling with certain infertility issues.
Primarily the entire practice of yoga encourages stress relief! Trying to conceive is often very emotional, especially when things aren't going according to plan! It's upsetting when the pregnancy test shows a negative month after month. Unfortunately the ongoing strain may actually make the situation worse. Chronic stress/anxiety upsets the delicate balance within the body (homeostasis). When this happens we get run down and numerous forms of ill health may result.
When stress hormones like cortisol are released into the bloodstream this can interfere with normal reproductive functions. Biochemical reactions within the body become drastically altered, which can then lead to hormonal imbalances and possible fertility problems.
One common example is when a woman's menstrual cycle becomes irregular while she's going through a stressful time - in some cases periods cease altogether. This is because the levels of estrogen and progesterone have become disturbed. But when stress is alleviated then the body is able to re-balance and recover. Yoga helps stabilize future responses to stress.
Research – In 2000 Alice Domar PhD (Harvard Medical School researcher) conducted a study on a group of women suffering from infertility. Some of these women participated in her 10 session fertility program which included yoga, meditation, other relaxation techniques, and healthy lifestyle training. Results showed that 55% of the mind/body group became pregnant within a year of participation, compared with only 20% in the control group.
- Mind/body integration methods such as yoga can induce the relaxation response. Favorable lifestyle choices all help.
- Yoga helps to regulate the endocrine system which is charge of our glands and hormones (chemical messengers).
- Fertility yoga poses work on the muscles surrounding the reproductive organs.
- As these muscles contract and relax the circulation of the pelvis area is improved. Better blood flow nourishes the ovaries and uterus.
- Benefits of yoga include supporting a healthy immune system and body detoxification.
- An excellent leisure activity for overall fitness!
- Prepares the body for pregnancy by toning the reproductive organs and the muscles that are used for childbirth.
- Yoga is ideal to include as part of a
Take note that fertility yoga may be used in conjunction with other fertility programs such as natural therapies, or medical fertility treatments.
Because of the known benefits of yoga for womens's reproductive health, there are now fertility yoga classes emerging around the U.S.A. and other countries. A selection of fertility/IVF clinics are even offering yoga lessons for their patients. Another option is specialized fertility yoga e-books and DVDs so that you can practice in the convenience of your own home, and in your own time (see products below).
The Fertility Yoga Program e-book
The Fertility Yoga Program from Natural Fertility Shop
Yoga Practices for Fertility DVD
Yoga Practices for Fertility - Pulling Down The Moon
Bend, Breath, and Conceive DVD
Bend, Breath, and Conceive from Fairhaven Health
Click here for a preview!
Related articles -
Stress and infertility
Acupuncture and fertility
Important - These claims have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Consult your personal physician for suitability before beginning a yoga program or any other form of exercise. This is especially the case if you have a medical condition. Although yoga is generally considered safe for an average healthy person, there are some health disorders where it may be best avoided e.g. high blood pressure that's difficult to control, risk of blood clots developing, eye conditions such as glaucoma, and/or osteoporosis.
Impact of group psychological interventions on pregnancy rates in infertile women. A D Domar, D Clapp, E A Slawsby, J Dusek, B Kessel, M Freizinger. Fertility and Sterility, Volume 73, Issue 4, 2000, Pages 805-811
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