Guest blog by Sandra Mills.
Fertility struggles can feel like you’re stuck on a hamster wheel in a cage you did not choose. Couples undergoing fertility treatments suddenly feel like they no longer have control of the most intimate parts of their bodies and their relationship, and it is stressful. That stress adversely affects fertility, which creates more stress, and more problems, and the wheel continues to spin, as you go nowhere.
Yoga has many forms of practice developed over centuries. With care for the unique issues of fertility, yoga has proven to be a very good way to provide both a woman and her partner with effective tools for controlling their approach to the stress in both body and mind. Many respected fertility experts are suggesting fertility yoga classes for patients. While it will not solve all fertility problems, it will help give the perspective needed to face them.
According to the NYU Fertility Center, “Yoga for Fertility is a safe, gentle practice inspired by Hatha Yoga with a focus on deep relaxation, guided visualization and breathing to trigger the relaxation response.” A class for Fertility Yoga can tone and strengthen the body, but it also is designed to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, decrease tension in the pelvic and hip region, and affect cortisol levels by teaching you how to control your reactions to stress.
More than exercise results from sharing a class with others in the same struggle. Realizing you are not the only one to feel trapped by infertility is encouraging as you learn together how to quiet your thoughts. The Colorado Center For Reproductive Medicine states, “Yoga is increasingly recommended for people trying to conceive, both because it helps relieve stress that can accompany fertility challenges and because the many therapeutic benefits may enhance fertility.”
Experts caution that not every fertility issue is going to be solved by holistic technique, and some yoga poses can actually create more problems. For instance, excessive twisting can cause ovaries swollen by fertility treatments to torque. It is important that the yoga class be designed for the specific limitations of the body during this time. Overall, an appropriate approach to yoga for fertility is highly recommended. When looking for yoga classes in your area, be sure to mention the fact that you are interested in fertility yoga and discuss any concerns you have with your instructor.
Yoga classes for fertility are not billed as support groups, but in many ways that is exactly what is accomplished. You meet others experiencing the same struggles, and realize you are not alone in this situation. They are not guarantees of fertility, but they restore your peace of mind and give you the skills to control your reaction to this stressful situation.
Many couples find that doing yoga together helps them to connect with each other outside the “got to get pregnant” pressure their fertility treatments put on the relationship. Activities together, learning new things and enjoying each other’s company, are welcome additions to their lifestyle.
Travel can be one of the best ways to learn new things and enjoy life together. Some couples have enjoyed traveling together to one of many excellent yoga retreats for a long weekend. One such place, if you can take the time to go, is to the birthplace of Yoga in Rishikesh, India, which has a lot to offer yogis at all levels.
The important thing is realizing that there are ways to confront the stresses of infertility with positive actions. It is difficult to feel trapped in that cage, running on a wheel that may seem endless, but fertility yoga can give you the key to freedom.
Sandra Mills is a freelance health and travel writer. She enjoys coming up with topics that benefit people’s health. She recently discovered the many health benefits of practicing yoga.