Updated: Mar 1, 2019
Kaelie Harris- Doula and Yoga Instructor Huntsville, AL
I have a dear friend who is on a journey through infertility and she asked me to find some yoga postures that would be beneficial to her. I have been researching this for a while and have found some mixed information. Different teachers suggest different postures and different sequences that they believe will help women experiencing infertility, but I keep coming back to the same thing: yoga helps with infertility, not through specific asana (postures), but though the practice itself. Yoga has been shown to decrease stress and decreased stress, in turn, has been shown to help with infertility. This is not to say that yoga or lower stress in general will be a magic fix for these issues, but it can help. I believe that whatever style yoga you choose will be beneficial to you. That being said, there are some postures that help increase the blood flow to certain areas of the body as well as some postures that I would recommend that someone wanting to become pregnant do regularly to help both prenatally and in childbirth. I will go through these in detail below:
Cobra pose can help with infertility because it increases blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. To do Cobra, lie face down on your mat with legs together and toes pointed. With your hands under your shoulders, push the upper body up with the arms and look up.
Svasana is the ultimate in relaxation and stress relief. Mastering svasana will help you control your breath and still your mind, helping to reduce your stress. For svasana, lie on your back with legs straight and arms to your side. Focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Close your eyes and try to soften the muscles in your body and give in to relaxation. Try not to let your mind wander, but if you find your thoughts racing, gently guide them back to your breath. This is one of the hardest asanas to master, so practice it often.
3. Shoulder Stand
Shoulder stand can help with infertility by directing the blood flow to the thyroid. The thyroid, if not working properly, can lead to infertility in some people. By revitalizing the thyroid, some believe that it will continue to do its job properly and reduce chances of infertility. To do shoulder stand, start by lying on your back on your mat, then raise your legs up to form a 90 degree angle. Push with your hands to lift your waist until you are balancing on the shoulders. You may want to first try this with your legs against the wall and a bolster behind the neck and shoulders.
4. Legs Up the Wall
Legs Up the Wall helps to direct blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. For this posture, put your mat next to a wall and lay down on your back with the hips as close to the wall as possible. Lift the legs to a 90 degree angle and rest them on the wall.
Garland pose is a great pose to practice if you are planning to become pregnant and throughout pregnancy. It strengthens the thigh muscles while opening the hips. It is important to get used to doing this as early as possible, because it can help support you in pregnancy and is even a great position to birth in. To do Garland, stand at the top of your mat with your feet spread to the edges of the mat. Keeping the toes pointing forward, sink all the way down into a squat. If this is uncomfortable, you can place a block underneath you for extra support.
6. Seated Forward Fold
Seated Forward fold, like many of the poses above, is great for fertility because it moves blood to the reproductive organs. For this posture, sit on your mat with you legs in front of you. Fold forward at the waist, keeping the legs straight, and stretch. You can use a strap around the feet to help you pull in further.
Pigeon is great for fertility, since it increases blood flow, and is wonderful to continue into pregnancy. This is an excellent posture to help with sciatic nerve pain. For pigeon, you want to bend your knee, bringing the shin parallel to the top of your mat. Straighten the opposite leg behind you, pointing the toe. You can either push into the mat, lifting your upper body while looking up or you can fold forward resting the forehead on the mat or on a block. You can also slide a block underneath your hip for more support.
8. Reclined Bound Angle
This is great posture for relaxation and stretching the inner hips and groin. Reclined bound angle also helps to open up and energize the pelvic region. Recline on your mat on your back. Bending your knees, put the soles of the feet together, letting the knees fall out to the sides. If this is uncomfortable at first, you can put blocks underneath your knees for support.