Guest Blog by Naomi Shaw.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one million married women between the ages of 15 and 44 suffer from infertility, and 6.9 million women have sought medical intervention to try to become pregnant. “Just relax” is a phrase that many infertile women hear often, and it’s become a phrase that has become loathed in online infertility communities.
Mind over body has more power than most women realize. While relaxation alone doesn’t magically result in pregnancy, a positive state of mind keeps harmful stress at ease. Stress wreaks havoc on the body—increasing blood pressure, causing stomach issues, headaches and a host of other problems.
The strain of trying to conceive is daunting on a woman’s body. Seeing one red line or the words NOT PREGNANT on a pregnancy test rips the heart apart. Financial stress caused from expensive fertility drugs and procedures combined with the marital strife that accompanies scheduled and on-demand intercourse can easily cause a woman to reach her breaking point.
Relaxation techniques like yoga center the mind and allow the body to find peace from harmful stress. For women undergoing fertility treatments or who are actively trying to conceive naturally, yoga provides a quiet vacation for the mind while challenging the body to become stronger.
The breath is vital to yoga. Without mindful breathing, the postures for the body would be nearly impossible. When beginning a yoga routine, focus on the breath. Sit with arms outstretched and take deep cleansing breaths through the nose. Feel the body take in healing oxygen, and then let the stress escape with a long exhale from the mouth.
Women who are newly introduced to yoga and its benefits should begin with easy, less strenuous positions. Yoga positions vary in difficulty depending on experience. Basic positions to incorporate into yoga routines may include the Hare Pose, the Cat Pose and Upward Facing Dog.
Kristin McGee, of MindBodyGreen, recommends the Fertility Flow Sequence of yoga positions. The sequence “opens up lungs, stretches the hips, waist and back, brings blood flow to the pelvic floor region, and is deeply soothing and relaxing.” The Fertility Flow Sequence begins with the Cat/Cow pose, moves into the Crescent Lunge, followed by the Pigeon, and the Child’s Pose, into the Mermaid which eases into the Revolved Janu Sirasana, which then flows into the Janu Sirasana. The sequence ends in the Goddess Pose or in the Rest in Final Relaxation.
While specialized yoga classes are available for women who are experiencing infertility, women may also browse instructional videos via YouTube or online. Yoga instructor Lynn Jensen, who also struggled with infertility, designed the program “Yoga for Fertility” as a means to help women use yoga to counteract the stressful challenges of infertility. While Jensen is based on the West Coast, her book and videos are available on her web site.
For women battling the mental stress of fertility struggles and the physical stress of infertility treatments, yoga provides a comfort for both the body and the mind. Through guided breaths, the body is able to feel at ease and let go of unwanted worry and anxiety. By closing the mind to negative thoughts and energy, the body is able to overcome physical limitations and contort in amazing ways. With the mind at ease, the body is capable of conquering the most incredible obstacles. Even the burden of infertility.
Naomi Shaw is a freelance journalist residing in sunny Southern California with her husband and three children. She is a work-at-home mom that enjoys writing on fashion, beauty, jewelry, and health. She loves to garden, craft, and revamp furniture, making it look very much her own.