As you continue to follow my blogs, you will often read about yoga to enhance fertility. Why? Because I am convinced that yoga has powerful effects on your whole being when practiced mindfully and regularly. In particular, I believe yoga has enormous benefits for anyone who is trying to conceive.
I went to my first yoga class 29 years ago when I was going through my own infertility treatment and was exhausted and highly stressed. My body felt the stress, and it felt terrible. I was not only in my doctor’s office many times each month undergoing infertility tests and treatments, I was also in graduate school working on my doctorate in clinical psychology and maintaining a full time counseling practice. My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for a couple of years with no promising results in sight. I knew I had to calm my stress, get more rest, exercise, and be the body a baby would love to grow inside. I also needed to pay more attention to my husband and have sex more often if we were going to get pregnant.
I had always heard yoga classes were good for stretching, flexibility, and relaxing, so I signed up for a class. At that time, there were very few yoga classes offered in Atlanta, and the Pierce Program was the most well known. I absolutely fell in love with yoga during my first class. I was a gymnast and diver throughout elementary school, middle school, and high school, so yoga was easy for me. I loved doing headstands and handstands again, and my teacher, Martin Pierce, was such a knowledgeable, warm, and skilled teacher. I was hooked from the start and haven’t stopped practicing yoga since that first class. I took classes once or twice a week for a couple of years, got pregnant and had my first son, and decided to become a yoga teacher. I took yoga teacher training classes with Martin for three years and really wanted to have an in depth knowledge of the yoga poses, counterposes, vinyasas, breathing practices, the mechanics of the body, and meditation. After I completed my teacher training, I taught yoga classes for a year or so. I preferred teaching yoga one-on-one or in small groups where I could work closely with each person in the class and alter the postures to benefit the individual needs of each student. Yoga is not a” one size fits all”, and I don’t think it’s smart to have 20 year old women and 60 year old women in the same class. Their bodies, energy levels, and health needs are quite different and should be addressed during class.
I still attend yoga classes with my teacher, Kathy, who also trained under Martin for many years. Martin died over 10 years ago, and I still attend yoga classes and workshops with his students. Most of us are yoga teachers, and we are deeply committed to our yoga practice. Our teacher in this yoga lineage is TKV Desikachar, and he is founder of The Krishnamacharya Yoga Mindarim in Chennai., India. Check out their website:http://www.kym.org to learn more about this yoga center.
Through the years, I have closely observed the body tension and the breathing patterns of women who came to me for infertility counseling. Their bodies were usually quite tense, and their breathing was short and shallow. I began teaching them how to breathe in ways that help the body feel calm and relaxed. I also taught them how to breathe to enhance fertility. The breath is our most powerful and accessible resource for change, and yoga practices are the best tools I know of for learning healthy breathing patterns. I have so much to say on this topic and will continue these discussions in future blogs. I would like to leave you with one simple breathing practice: Take slower and deeper breaths for the next 5 minutes. Breathe in and out of your nose if possible. Pay careful attention to your breath and to your body as you lengthen your inhalations and your exhalations. Then leave a comment describing what you noticed.