If you're working on building a family while finding your flow, then you'll be happy to know fertility yoga is, in fact, a thing. Yes yogis, there are yoga positions that can help a woman conceive. Which makes a lot of sense because, according to Mayo Clinic, lifestyle factors affect your fertility, from the food you eat to the exercises you do. Addition, Time, reported that yoga can be helpful in balancing your hormones, reducing stress and encouraging blood flow, which makes yoga a practice that can help you optimize conception.
Because trying to conceive can be emotionally challenging, I spoke to certified yoga teacher Neelu Shruti, owner of Love Child Yoga to learn about the connection between yoga and fertility. Shruti specializes in prenatal, postnatal, and fertility yoga, and emphasizes that yoga can, "help build mind-body connection so you feel empowered." Although all physical activity gets your blood flowing, Shruti adds that high intensity workouts don't create optimal conditions for conception, making a less strenuous work-out regiment like yoga ideal.
To get started with fertility yoga, you need to carefully observe your menstrual cycle. Shruti suggests that you match your yoga practice to your cycle, practicing different poses with each phase. Fertility yoga is so specific and tailored to each person that a single sequence doesn't necessarily make sense for everyone, but, the following is a starter guide to yoga positions to help you conceive, based on where you are in your cycle.
1. Child's Pose
In the menstrual phase, Shruti advises restorative yoga that can encourage blood to "flow down with gravity, and avoid inversions." Yoga Journal recommended child's pose, a resting asana where you lengthen your tailbone away from the back of the pelvis while you lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck as a restorative yoga pose.
2. Bound Ankle
Another pose to practice in the menstrual phase is the bound ankle pose, shown above.
3. Seated Forward Fold
A final pose to practice during the menstrual phase is the seated forward fold. Yoga Outlet noted that ancient yogis would practice this pose facing the sunrise to stretch the entire back, or "west," side of their bodies as they folded forward toward the sun.
4. Sun Salutations
Moving through your cycle to the follicular phase, Shruti says, "you start to feel more energized and strong vinyasa practice is recommended to get blood flowing and increase endorphins." So any type of flow yoga is recommended. Sun salutations are an invigorating in the morning, especially outdoors.
5. Shoulder Stand
Shape called shoulder stand a powerhouse pose that can relieve stress and depression, improve digestion, while opening the shoulders and neck, which happens to be where a lot of people store their tension. This is ideal during the follicular phase.
Another pose to practice in the follicular phase is bridge. Remember to keep breathing as you push your tailbone upward toward the pubis, firming your butt as you lift it off the floor, noted Yoga Journal.
7. Cat Pose
Now that you're in the ovulation phase, when the egg is released from the ovary to the fallopian tube, Shruti says "doing active pranayama (breath work) helps stimulate oxygen flow to the uterus and ovaries." Begin a flow of cat-cow, starting with cat position.
8. Cow Pose
End your flow in cow pose. Shruti encourages you to inhale with each lifting motion, which you did in the cat portion of the cat-cow flow. Exhale when you're rounding out the asana, which is how you'll end the cat-cow flow pose.
9. Side Stretches
Yoga Outlet called the side stretches ideal for beginners. If you need help, you can use a block for balance. This pose can help to "start encouraging more space in the uterus and upper body," Shruti says.
10. Legs Up Against The Wall
Now that you're in the final stage of your cycle, the luteal phase, Shruti says "restorative yoga is key since you're encouraging a fertilized egg to implant into the uterine lining."
But now, you want to practice yoga like you're pregnant. Avoid hot yoga, abdominal work, or deep twists. Legs against the wall. If you need a little support to help get you into formation, be sure, as Boston Magazine recommended, to use props correctly in your yoga practice.