When I was asked to teach Yoga for Fertility, my first thought was “what do I know about infertility?”. I do have two children of my own but have never struggled with infertility myself but I do know people around me who have.
Once I let the idea of teaching this class sit with me, I felt honored to be able to share this journey with women who wanted nothing more than what has come so naturally to me.
As the numbers of women who are facing infertility rise, so are the numbers for unexplained infertility. More and more women are being told that there are no “physical” reasons why they cannot conceive. Why?
Our society today is about doing more, and having more and as we are always wanting more we are also faced with more stress.
When women are faced with infertility their stress levels go up and with each disappointing negative sign on a pregnancy test, the stress level not only goes up but usually stay up. Women can begin a cycle of feeling disappointed in themselves, disappointed for their partner, fear and hurt that they may never get pregnant and for every baby stroller or pregnant women they pass, it only deepens the sadness that they already feel.
High levels of stress means elevated levels of stress hormones in the body for long periods of time. These stress hormones such as epinephrine, cortisol, endorphins, and prolactin can cause menstrual irregularity, they can interfere with ovulation, and can sometimes prevent your eggs from maturing.
So how will yoga help women to conceive?
In Yoga for Fertility, women are taught how to reconnect with their body using a specific yoga practice that is designed to create space for a new baby.
As I began teaching this class last year, I started teaching this series with a gentle yoga class style but as time has gone on, I have realized that this class really needs so much more than just the asana.
Today this class consists of a yoga nidra practice, restorative yoga, yin yoga postures, mediation and visualization.
Meditation and visualization is used to help trigger the relaxation response which allows the stress response to be turned off.
Although there are so many postures that I could choose from my favorite Yoga for Fertility pose is Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall pose).
The benefits that this pose offers are:
-calms the nervous system
-brings fresh blood and lymph into your abdomen/pelvic area and organs
-relieves tension in your lower back
-helps with anxiety (which can be felt during high levels of stress)
-relaxes your adrenal glands
-calms your mind
-releases tension and stress from your legs
-reduces swelling in your feet and legs
-rests your heart as your feet are above your head
To come into Viparita Karani follow these steps:
-place your mat close to a wall
-sit with one hip up against the wall
-inhale and lengthen the spine
-exhale and swing your legs up the wall as you recline on your mat
-if you notice that your knees are bent, move your gluts away from the wall until your legs are straight
-allow your toes to point slightly upwards but without holding them (this pose should be very relaxed)
-let your arms come away from the body with the palms of your hands facing towards the ceiling if that feels comfortable (this is in the gesture of receiving all things good)
-relax your jaw by releasing your tongue from the roof of your mouth
-allow your chin to be parallel to the floor (neutral chin)
As you rest in this pose and feel the energy moving from your feet to your pelvic girdle, I would ask you to imagine that you can see this cleansing energy filling up your uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes with a bright orange light. Orange represents the second chakra which relates to the negative thoughts and feelings we hold in the body (in the hips) and the sexual organs. Let this orange colour fill up your belly and as it warms the body, allow it to also create a gentle, nurturing space for a baby to be conceived in. Maybe even imagine already being pregnant.
I believe that what we think we create so why not plant the seed in your mind and allow your body to create what is possible.
Susan Di Ilio is a 500 RYT Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Instructor. She has worked as a Correctional Officer and brings her love of working with people to her therapeutic yoga teachings. Susan teaches Gentle Yoga, Yoga for Fertility, Restorative Yoga and Deep Tension Therapeutic Yoga.