Many infertile couples are turning to yoga to increase their chances of conceiving. Besides being a gentle form of strengthening exercise, yoga can also decrease stress, open the pelvis and unlock internal energies that may interfere with conception, according to a couple of recent studies. And men can benefit from practicing yoga as much as women can.
Dr. Rahul Sachdev, a Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, told “Yoga Journal” that stress-reducing activities like yoga can increase the chances of conception for a couple struggling to conceive. And he has the numbers to back up his claim. Sachdev put together a program for couples with fertility issues that incorporated yoga, meditation, support groups and dietary changes. Of the couples who participated, 50 percent got pregnant within one year. Other studies have resulted in similar success rates, according to “Yoga Journal.”
Studies have also shown that incorporating specific pelvis-opening poses into a practice can help with infertility, increase blood flow to the pelvis and may even be able to rebalance your hormones. Three basic pelvis-opening poses that anyone, no matter your level of experience in yoga, can try are Bridge pose; Butterfly, or Bound Angle pose; and Legs-Up-The-Wall pose. Bridge pose is a supine pose during which you raise your hips off the ground. Butterfly pose is a seated pose in which you bring the soles of your feet together. Legs-Up-The-Wall pose is a supine pose that requires you to lie with your butt against a wall while extending your legs up the wall.
Unlock Your Energy
Some infertility specialists, like Sachdev, subscribe to the notion that how your energy flows within you can affect your ability to conceive. Most standard yoga styles incorporate sequenced movements aimed at building internal heat while unlocking and increasing your energy flow. Incorporating a gentle Vinyasa flow into your practice can unlock your internal energy. Most Vinyasa flow sequences include forward bends, Chair pose, low push-ups called Chaturangas, side bends and twists, and one or more of the three Warrior poses. Ending with a resting pose, like Corpse pose or Shavasana, can also seal in and increase the benefits of your practice.
Other Health Benefits
Practicing yoga can do more than increase your chances of conceiving. Yoga can increase your flexibility and balance, strengthen your leg, shoulders, arm and abdominal muscles, improve your posture and teach you better ways of breathing, notes the Mayo Clinic. And it also touts yoga’s ability to reduce stress, improve your concentration and mood and lower your blood pressure, which can only increase your chances of one day being called mom or dad.
William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.