Story by Cynthia Darling
For many women, trying to become pregnant is a complicated process, one fraught with intense emotions. Women trying to conceive are familiar with the variety of spets and resources available to aid in the process, and it can often be difficult to decide which ones are truly helpful.
A growing number of yoga studios are offering the latest technique to add to the list: yoga for fertility.
Montclair’s Patti Safian teaches a yoga class for fertility at Yoga Montclair. A yoga teacher since 1996, Safian’s class grew out of her work as an acupuncturist. Teaching the class allows her to continue the fertility work she does with her acupuncture clients.
Just what does yoga for fertility involve? Says Safian, “Yoga classes for fertility offer specific asanas that increase circulation and blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. It’s about building up the yin and egg quality.”
She notes that Bikram yoga and hot yoga do not address the specific needs of women trying to increase their fertility, and in some cases can work against them. Varying her techniques depending on where a woman is in her monthly cycle, Safian leads women through poses that can help to achieve these fertility goals.
Says one member of Patti’s class at Yoga Montclair, “The asana practice combines a nice blend of gentle movement with some stimulating poses designed to open the hips and increase the flow of energy to the reproductive organs.” This student notes that Safian also shows her class how to use acupressure points that help simulate the flow to the uterus, ovaries or other “blocked” areas.
Just what do the medical experts think of yoga for fertility? Reproductive Endocrinologist Linda Robins of Montclair Homeopathy advises women to try yoga for fertility once they know the root of their particular fertility issue. Going to yoga classes won’t help at all if their fertility issue arises out of sperm problems in their partner. And certain infertility problems in women cannot be treated through yoga. However, Robins does think that for the appropriate women, the practice can be very helpful “as part of their fertility toolbox.”
Indeed, Safian encourages women to see yoga for fertility as just one piece of the larger process of trying to conceive. She offers advice to help women shift perspective away from the sole, pressurized goal of getting pregnant, urging students to see themselves and their goals in a new light. “It’s about bringing out your most fertile self. It’s already in there. It’s just about making changes or choices to bring this out.”
Some of these choices can also include nutritional changes and relaxation choices.
But the yoga for fertility class offers so much more than the physical benefits of increasing circulation and flow. Safian wanted to offer a class where women could come together to support each other. “This class is a place where women can go to share stories and feel that they’re not the only one going through this.” Having that support network can aid in women’s understanding of their obstacles and goals as they enter the process of trying to become pregnant.
Says Safian’s student, “I’ve learned to relax more, be patient with the process, and accept whatever path reveals itself to me for creating our family.”
Did/do you have problems with fertility? Did you try yoga?
(Photo: Flickr/ Lululemon)