Updated: Jun 13
Tips for increasing your chances for conceiving with yoga!
Can we boost our fertility through yoga? This question probably crossed the mind of many women out there. At the moment you are reading the article, many women out there are looking to increase their chances of conceiving by boosting their fertility. It could be a quite sensitive topic to some of us, especially if you already checked and know all is technically OK with both of you and yet nothing happens.
In the realm of alternative therapies for enhancing fertility, yoga has gained significant attention for its potential benefits. With its holistic approach to mind-body wellness, yoga offers a range of practices and yoga poses that can support reproductive health and potentially increase the chances of conception. This article explores the connection between yoga and fertility, highlighting specific yoga poses that may have a positive impact on reproductive function. Supported by research data, we delve into the ways in which yoga can help reduce stress, balance hormones, and create a conducive environment for fertility.
How stress impact fertility
Stress is one of the biggest triggers to infertility and is a common aspect of modern life and can have a profound impact on various aspects of health, including reproductive health Being constantly on the go, juggling deadlines, meetings, expectations, university and the list could go on. It's like we are “too busy” to get pregnant. Not to forget that occasionally the age could add additional pressure for a lot of us remanding us we have a time limit.
However, both men and women can be affected by high levels of stress, which can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones and physiological processes necessary for conception.
How stress effect fertility in women
In women, stress can disrupt the regularity of menstrual cycles, leading to irregular or absent periods. Hormonal imbalances caused by stress may interfere with ovulation, making it difficult to predict fertile windows and reducing the chances of conception. Additionally, stress can affect the function of the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis, which regulates reproductive hormones, potentially resulting in ovulatory disorders or even infertility.
How stress effect fertility in men
In men, stress can negatively impact sperm production and quality. Stress hormones, such as cortisol, can interfere with the production of testosterone and sperm, leading to decreased sperm count, motility, and morphology. These factors can contribute to male infertility and reduce the likelihood of successful conception.
How yoga helps reduce stress
Research has highlighted the importance of stress reduction in improving fertility outcomes. Stress reduction techniques, such as yoga, have been found to play a significant role in restoring hormonal balance and creating a more favourable environment for fertility.
Yoga combines physical postures, controlled breathing techniques, and meditation to help individuals achieve a state of balance and calmness. The physical aspect of yoga stimulates the release of endorphins, the body's natural "feel-good" chemicals, which counteract the negative effects of stress hormones. Yoga poses that target the pelvic region can help improve blood flow to the reproductive organs, enhancing their function and promoting hormonal balance.
In addition to the physical benefits, the meditative and mindfulness aspects of yoga can reduce anxiety and promote emotional well-being. By cultivating a calm and focused mind, individuals can better manage stress, anxiety, and the emotional challenges that often accompany the fertility journey. This mind-body connection created through yoga can positively influence the functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which regulates the stress response.
All the mentioned above impact our health tremendously. Apart from reducing stress levels and bringing harmony back to the nervous system, the poses below work on the lower part of the body. They supply the area with oxygen and improve the blood circulation and overall health of the area.
However, like everything you can’t expect to do them once a month and having a big difference. If you are already practicing yoga I would recommend you include them in your regular practice. If yoga is a new thing for you start incorporating them in your routine for at least 3 times a week. The poses could be done as outlined below. Also, I have included breathwork too which can be done together with the poses or as a separate practice.
By cultivating a calm and focused mind, individuals can better manage stress, anxiety, and the emotional challenges that often accompany the fertility journey.
Yoga poses and breathing exercises to help you boost fertility and chances for conceiving
Nadi Shodana or Alternate Nostril breathing
My all-time favourite breathing exercise and cleansing practice is Nadi Shodana or Alternate Nostril breathing. There is no day that I could go without it. Is simple yet powerful practice that can bring your system into balance. When we inhale through the left nostril we trigger the relaxation response or parasympathetic nervous system and when inhale through the right we stimulate the fight or flight response or sympathetic nervous system. And you can feel that instantly after just few rounds of Alternate nostril breathing. There should be no effort, dizziness or light headiness. If any of these appears leave the practice and try another day.
Close your right nostril with the thumb of the right hand.
Inhale through the left nostril, close the left nostril with ring finger of the right hand and exhale through the right nostril.
Inhale through right nostril, close the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. This is one round. You can start with 5 rounds every day.
Then you can start counting for three or four on the inhale and the same count on the exhale for at least a week before you increase.
Just few of the wonderful benefits:
Improves our ability to focus the mind
Relax the whole system
Supports our lungs and respiratory functions
Restores balance in the left and right hemispheres of the brain, and clears the energetic channels
Rejuvenates the nervous system
Prepares for meditation
Bhujangasana - Cobra pose
Bhujangasana is also known as a Serpent pose and as many other poses in yoga represent the name of the animal after which is named. You can imagine how the cobra is raising it's head. Practice few cat and cow rounds to warm up the spine.
Lie on your front with tops of your feet flat and press them down gently into the floor.
Bend your elbows and bring the palms next your chest
Roll the thighs inwards and squeeze the glutes gently
Tuck your elbows into your body and gently pull them back
Look straight ahead, keeping the head aligned and not sinking into your neck.
Inhale lift the chest of the mat slightly by using the back muscles, exhale release.
Increase the lift gradually, rather than going into deep back bends straight away.
Benefits of Cobra Pose:
Improves menstrual cycle
Invigorates the mood
Stimulates organs in the abdomen, like the kidneys
Improves circulation of blood and oxygen, especially throughout the spinal and pelvic regions
Strengthens the spine
Janu Sirsasana - Head to knee pose
Extend your right leg in front of you, walking the left food as close as possible to the opposite groin. If your left knee is uncomfortable or not touching the ground place a pillow or roll towel under.
Flex your right foot (toes moving towards the knees and heel pushing away). Engage your upper thigh and avoid overextending the knee. Turn your torso facing towards the right leg.
Inhale rise your arms above the head, exhale fold forward flexing from the hips. Place both hands on or around your outstretched leg. Only bend forward as far as you can keeping your back straight and long. Keep your sitting bones firmly rooted.
Allow your chest to move forward with each inhale, like there is a flash light on your breast bone.
Allow the progress to happen gradually. Stay 10 breaths and repeat on the other side.
Benefits of the pose:
Calms the mind
Stretches the hips, back of the body and groins
Relieves menstrual discomfort
Helps release the symptoms of menopause
Stimulates the kidneys and liver.
Be mindful if you have a knee injury. Don’t bend to far and you can place the heel of the bend leg between the inner thigh and knee of the straight leg. Place a folded blanket or towel under the bend knee.
Sit on folded blanket or towel to elevate your hips so they can tilt into forward fold more easily.
Navasana -Boat pose
From sitting, bend the knees and bring them together. You can first hold the inner knees with both hands.
Engage the core. Inhale lift the legs of the mat and bring them perpendicular to the floor. Keep your back straight. You can stay here or bring the hands by the sides of your feet.
Feel the strength in the solar plexus. Imagine you are squeezing something between the inner thighs. Keep your breastbone lifting up towards the ceiling.
You can remain with the knees bend or extend the legs as shown on the picture below.
I have included Navasana or Boat pose as is working straight on the solar plexus which is connected with Manipura chakra or the energy centre which relates to our personal power and will. And I know sometimes could be hard to keep the positive vibes and inner strength when you and your significant one are trying to conceive.
Badha Konasana or Bound Angle
Bound angle is another tons of benefits type of pose. Apart that the kidney, bladder and prostate function are stimulated, bound angle promotes regular menstruation.
Join the feet together and allow the knees to fall out to the sides. Walk the feet as close as it fit comfortable towards the pubic bone.
Hold your feet with both hands. Gently press your arms against your thighs to open up your hips out further.
Inhale extend your spine on the exhale fold forward bending from the hips. If the inner thighs are tight, might be enough of a stretch by just joining the feet.
With each exhale relax your chest closer towards your feet, with each inhale elongate your spine. Stay 10 breaths.
Keep your eyes looking ahead of you so you can keep your chest lengthening too.
Repeat on the other side.
Upavistha Konasana - Seated angle pose
Extend your legs out to the sides till you feel comfortable. If you feel the stretch is too strong bend your knees.
Ground through your sitting bones while sending back the tailbone. Keep your knees neutral by pointing up.
Inhale look up, exhale fold from the hips while reaching with your hands towards your knees or towards your ankles. Only fold to a point you feel mild to moderate stretch. Keep you back long.
Use your exhales to allow the chest gradually to come closer to the floor. Stay at least 10 breaths.
Tip: You can place a yoga booster or a yoga block in front of you and lower down your forearms and stay a bit longer if comfortable.
Pashchimottanasana - Intense West Stretch pose
Pashchimottanasana stretches the whole spinal column and relaxes the central nervous system does helping with getting emotional and mood swings. The reproductive organs are tuned and massaged and is great pose to regulate the menstrual cycle apart from relieving pain.
Sit tall with your legs outstretched in front of you. Flex your feet. Remove flesh from the sitting bones. Lengthen from the crown of your head.
Inhale extend the arms above your head. Exhale fold forward flexing from the hips. If you can’t hook your big toes, hold the legs to the extend you feel stretch without strain.
“Pashchimottanasana stimulates the kidneys, ovaries, uterus and liver "
Inhale look up, exhale fold again. Lower your torso onto your thighs, relax your neck and gently draw your chest to your legs. You can use a pillow under your forehead. For beginners you can hook a yoga strap.
Keep your shoulders away from the years and your lower back long. Stay 10 breaths. Neutralize with cat and cow, cobra or bridge pose.
Benefits of pashchimottanasana :
Massages the abdominal organs
Stretches the whole back side of the body
Stimulates the kidneys, ovaries, uterus and liver
Helps to relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort
Relaxes the nervous system
Soothes headache and anxiety
Therapeutic for high blood pressure, infertility
-When you catch yourself that you stopped breathing it might means you went too far in the forward fold. If you are just starting or having tightness on the hips or hip flexor your forward might not look very forward. That’s ok, focus on your breath and only take it to the extend you can breath freely.
-Sit on folded blanket or towel to elevate your hips so they can
tilt into forward fold more easily.
Supported Shoulder stand or Shalamba Sharvangasana
Inverted position brings different perspective both to the mind and body. The energy and circulation is rushed from the lower part to upper part of the body and is brought back to lower part once you release the pose. In supported Shoulderstand the thyroid gland is stimulated too.
Lie on on your back. Bend the knees and engage the core. Bring the palms by your sides.
Exhale press the palms down towards the floor and gently lift the hips and lower back of the floor.
Bend your elbows and place your hands on your lower back and gradually walk them towards your middle back
Lift the legs towards the ceiling working towards 90 degrees angle.
Firmly press the shoulders and upper arms towards the floor. Lengthen the neck away of the shoulders while keeping the natural curvature of the neck.
Make sure you can breath freely here
Stay 5 to 10 breaths
Benefits of Supported Shoulderstand:
Therapeutic for infertility
Stimulates the thyroid and prostate glands
Help to reduce the effects of menopause
Relax and calms the brain
Vipareeta Karani mudra
According to Hatha Yoga pradipica when practicing Vipareeta Karani we are directly reversing the flow of fluid from the brain centre. With the help from the gravity when the body is in inverted position naturally the body fluids are pulled down towards the lower parts of the body. Vipereeta Karani creates pressure on the throat which stimulates the thyroid gland.
In addition, this yoga pose helps relieve tension in the lower body, supports the nervous system, and induces a state of deep relaxation. Regular practice of this pose can enhance reproductive health and contribute to overall well-being during the fertility journey.
And is like the above is not enough is also believed to have anti-ageing effects on your body. It also improves blood circulation to your pelvic region. If Supported Shoulder stand is too strenuous practice legs up the wall.
Lay on your the back with the legs extended vertically up the wall. You can support the lower back with blanket. Stay at least 10 breaths to few mins if you feel comfortable.
Sethu Bandasana - Bridge pose
Bridge Pose is a backbend that helps open the chest, hips, and pelvic area, while providing support for the body. Bridge Pose also releases tension in the lower back, promotes relaxation, and helps alleviate stress. Incorporating this pose into a fertility-focused yoga practice can create a nourishing and supportive space for reproductive health.
From the previous pose bring the knees into your chest and circle the knees few times both direction. On the exhale place your heels directly under the knees, feet hip distance apart facing forward, back flat, hands by your side.
Exhale tilt your hips forward, tucking the tailbone gently under.
Inhale lift the hips and back of the floor to a comfortable height. Press firmly the upper arms and shoulders on the floor.
Broaden the collarbones to open the chest. Keep your big toes and inner arches of both feet firmly pressing on the mat and the neck lengthening away of the spine. Slowly lower down vertebra by vertebra all the way down.
Note: to make it more therapeutic, place a folded blanket under your sacrum allowing the sacrum and sitting bones to melt on the folded blanket. Hold for 10 breaths.
Suptha Badha Konasana - Reclined Bound Angle
Supta Baddha Konasana, or Reclining Bound Angle Pose, is a restorative pose that allows for deep relaxation and stress reduction. It’s beautiful yoga pose which works magic. It opens the inner thighs and hips, helping the whole body and mind to unwind. The reclined butterfly stimulates the abdominal organs, the ovaries and prostate gland, bladder, and kidneys. Helps relieve the symptoms of menstruation and menopause and improves general circulation in the area while enhancing the feeling of relaxation. Reclining Bound Angle Pose can be practiced as a soothing and supportive pose during fertility-focused yoga sessions.
Lie flat on your back, bend your legs and place the soles of your feet and heels together.
Allow your knees to fall out to the sides and sink to the floor and relax your arms alongside your body. Rock your hips side to side allowing them to be even on both sides. Close your eyes and bring the awareness inwards.
Breathe deeply. Allow with every breath your body to soften and melt down. This is a time for you. Stay from 30 sec to 1 min.
Note: If you are complete beginner hold first for not more than 10 breaths and try first to place the heels not too close to the groins. Overtime you can shorten the distance. Alternatively you can support your knees with block or rolled up blanket.