By Monica Morell, PhD
What is fertility yoga? Fertility yoga is a therapeutic type of yoga that helps make the connection between body, mind, emotions, and spirit.. Like most yoga programs, fertility yoga places emphasis on the benefits of integrating breath with movement. It helps an individual gain balance, strength, and vitality. But what makes fertility yoga different from other yoga practices is that it specifically focuses on reproductive health.
Integrating breath and movement in a yoga practice helps an individual feel relaxed and open on all levels. There are thousands of yoga poses, some of which are especially beneficial for fertility. A fertility yoga practice particularly focuses on the reproductive and hormonal systems. It uses poses that specifically focus on opening up the energy in the area of the body that houses our reproductive organs. Other poses in the practice will focus on bringing energy and vitality to our hormonal system, which is so important to our reproductive health.
It is a common misperception to think that you have to be super flexible or a “pretzel” in order to do yoga. Every physical body is different and everyone moves in and out of poses differently. Practice certainly helps an individual feel comfortable.
Fertility or preconception yoga helps a woman who is trying to conceive by increasing her feeling of self-efficacy as she continues with her practice. Women consistently note feeling more in control, feeling physically stronger, feeling more able to handle some difficult decisions, having an improved sense of well being and mental clarity, feeling calmer during medical procedures, and sleeping better. Feelings that seem to diminish as a woman’s yoga practice progresses are those of anger, hopelessness, confusion, lack of control, and helplessness. Perhaps it is that these increased feelings of self-efficacy can at the very least allow her to make better choices for herself—choices that will greatly assist her on her journey toward parenthood.
It is important to remember that yoga does not operate on its own. It is what a woman does with her yoga practice that will cause an uptick in her fertility potential, and not the yoga itself per se. It is the relationship she develops with her practice. A person needs to bring a reciprocal relationship to it in order for her to reap the rewards yoga can give her, and not see it as a quick fix.
Overall, preconception yoga seemingly provides a haven. For a woman seeking a complement to an assisted medical treatment, fertility yoga seems to set the stage. It is surprising to most that the slow and meditative practice of yoga can help those of us in our hurry-up culture of instant responses and silver bullets.
Even though preconception yoga is a slow, meditative progression, I have seen some very strong indicators through the preconception yoga program I developed that a person is indeed increasing her chances for not only pregnancy, but also for a healthier and more understandable life by bringing herself to her yoga mat.
About the Author
Dr. Monica Morell is a holistic consultant, leading fertility yoga expert and practitioner. Her current video, Fertility Yoga with Dr. Monica Morell, reaches women and couples across the globe. Locally, she conducts weekly fertility yoga classes at Reproductive Science Center in Lexington.
This article originally appeared in the RESOLVE New England Summer 2009 Newsletter.