Yoga and Infertility by Leslie Daly
Yoga and Infertility
By Leslie Daly, MS ADTR LCAT RYT
From the 2007 Resource Directory
Yoga is a practice about connecting with oneself. It is about clearing the space – physically and mentally – to experience the prana, or life force, already present within you. Yogis believe that illness and suffering (douka) is in part caused by obstructions in our bodies and minds. Happiness (souka), on the other hand, is literally translated as “unobstructed space”.
Hatha yoga practice, with the intention of increasing fertility, focuses on clearing space in the reproductive environment so that more prana and breath (and oxygenated blood) can move into the system.
Hatha yoga is the physical path of yoga and includes postures (asana), breathing (pranayama), meditation (dhyana), cleansing (kriyas) and relaxation (yoga nidra). Fertility yoga sessions highlight all of these areas, with the exception of the cleansing practices. The following describes how they each address infertility.
Highlighted postures include ones that strengthen and stimulate the endocrine and reproductive systems. Poses that open the hips and soften the low belly help to create a receptive and open environment. The practice of the postures with dynamic alignment and muscle engagement help to bring awareness to tension held throughout the body and allow for more efficient use of energy.
Breath work and control is the one of the most powerful aspects of a yoga practice. By simply bringing awareness to breathing, we become more focused in the present. By deepening the breath, we bring more prana to the system, we increase blood flow, we support our movement and postures and we feel our emotions – our experience – more fully.
Addressing infertility is a very stressful and emotional process. So much time is spent thinking about treatments and costs, feelings of disappointment, failure, loss and anger are at the forefront. It is all too easy to get wrapped up in these negative thoughts, feelings, worries about appointments, procedures, and difficult and emotional conversations. Often there is a loss of perspective and you are completely immersed in being “infertile”. The practice of meditation helps to refocus the busy mind, to practice presence in the moment, to experience the fluctuations of our thoughts and feelings. Most importantly, meditation can help you to feel more in control. Yoga and meditation remind you that you are so much more than your thoughts and pathology.
When we feel stress the body goes into “flight or fight” mode. The sympathetic nervous system is in full gear, preparing out bodies for danger. Other systems of the body slow down or shut down altogether, which is why constant and unrelieved stress is largely believed to be a huge factor in illness. The good news is our bodies have a natural mechanism to counteract the stress response. We have a relaxation response, the parasympathetic nervous system, and we have the ability to “hook” into it by breathing and relaxing the body. Every fertility yoga session ends with time to relax, release, to allow the body time to go into its natural restorative state where it can heal.
In addition, a fertility yoga session includes chanting and energy configurations (mudras), which are used to highlight and stimulate the second chakra, or energy center, that correlates with reproduction, emotion, sexuality and creation.
What is the best part of practicing yoga for fertility? Having a positive experience in your amazing body and spending time honoring your body for what it can do and for the wisdom it contains within!
INCIID Profile: http://www.inciid.org/members/member.php?cust_id=10003
Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness & Women’s Health
16 East 40th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 212-685-0985 Fax: 212-684-1780