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The Yoga of Fertility
The Yoga of Fertility
Break through the “Pregnancy or Bust” Cycle
By Elizabeth Marglin
All too often, women trying to conceive get caught up in the frenzy of time running out, as if their bodies were bombs ticking away, about to detonate into an explosion of birth or an implosion of infertility. The focus relentlessly aims toward the future—starting with the hope for two blue lines on the next pregnancy test and reaching forward to thoughts of nurseries and strollers to come.
It seems the ideas of motherhood and expectation are inextricably linked. Interestingly, the word uterus comes from metra, the Greek word for measurement, which is also the root of the words time and mother. A healthy relationship to time—without a sense of graspiness or expectation—forms the essence of a fruitful approach to life and motherhood.
Yoga, with its spotlight on dropping into the present moment, helps people avoid becoming fixated on future. It helps would-be parents in other ways, too. One of its main benefits—reducing stress levels—takes the body out of its fertility-hindering fight-or-flight mode. If the body has to concentrate its resources on controlling stress, energy gets diverted away from reproduction. Since stress can constrict blood vessels, including those in the uterus, a yoga practice designed with the intention of lowering stress can only help with overall health and fertility.
“Stress plays a part in every single illness,” Judith Lasater, PhD, a yoga teacher, practicing physical therapist, and author of Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life (Rodmell Press, 2000) says. “If you are in a stressed state, you don’t have the hormonal profile of someone who is likely to get pregnant.” She says she would emphasize a yoga practice that pays special attention to the qualities of “opening, softening, and yielding.”
Regenerate with restorative posesWithin the yoga lexicon, inverted poses shine as excellent asanas for balancing the endocrine system, soothing rattled nerves, clearing the mind, resting the heart, and increasing circulation. Normally performed at the end of a practice, they can also stand alone as a quick time-out. One of the simplest and most effective poses, Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani), restores beginners and advanced yogis alike.
Lasater also believes that quality rest, like the one found in Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose or in Corpse Pose, in which you lie on your back, palms facing up and feet spread apart, are the most important poses for fertility. “We live in a state of low-lying anxiety all the time,” Lasater says. “It’s so important in our fast-paced society to rest consciously everyday—it reestablishes hormonal balance.” The quintessential restorative pose for everywoman is Reclining Butterfly Pose, in which you lie over a bolster with the soles of your feet together.
Nourish fertility with forward bendsForward bends like Baddha Konasana tone and stretch the pelvic floor, improve circulatio...
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