Women who are trying to conceive often feel like the stress of tracking ovulation, monitoring hormone levels, and all the pressure each month actually works against their chances for success. To some extent, this is true: stress is considered a factor in infertility, though there are many other factors that contribute to how long it takes to conceive. One way to help ease the feelings of stress while also helping your body to feel ready for a coming pregnancy is to work on some yoga poses that are known to be positive for fertility. The stress relief, strong muscles, and flexibility all benefit soon-to-be mothers, while making them feel and look good along the way.
While many of these poses offer benefits to the mom-to-be, all movements should be considered in conjunction with one’s doctor’s advice about movement. Yoga is about finding one’s edge, not pushing past limits, so consider whether these poses over-tax a muscle group that you know you need to protect, and don’t include those poses that your medical professionals caution against.
Bridge pose is a natural way to reverse the blood flow in your body gently while opening up the hips for a wonderful stretch. To get into bridge pose, lie on your back with your feet tucked up against your buttocks, knees up. Either with your hands under your lower back for support or with your hands flat on the ground, lift up your pelvis to create a flat line from knees down to shoulders. Hold the pose for a few seconds; if need be, lower back down and then lift back up again.
Reclined Bound Angle
Need a rest that also opens your muscles and increases your flexibility? Lie back on your back and bring your feet together with knees splayed out to the sides. Let your legs fall to the natural level, even if it isn’t flush with the floor. This is a resting pose, but doing it frequently loosens tight muscles in your pelvic floor and legs and can be incredibly calming. This can be a great cool down pose and a good way to relax when you are tired.
Cobra pose activates your whole body, while building your core, which can strengthen you and make your body more prepared for future pregnancy. While lying on your belly, activate through your toes and legs to hover or gently rest on the floor. Tuck hands under your shoulders and lift your shoulders and upper chest off the ground, resting the hands lightly on the ground. This movement shouldn’t strain your neck, but if it does, lower your head down a little. Upward Facing dog is a more extended version of this, with the body supported on the hands and feet in a graceful curve.
Squats are great for opening the hips and legs while feeling connected to the Earth. A yogic squat involves squatting down and letting the heels of your feet come as close to the floor as possible. With arms in front of legs, you can hold your hands in a prayer position with your arms pressing against your legs, providing a tension to keep you steady in this position. Holding this position for a minute or more will create a lot of sensation in your legs, but every time you do it you'll notice your heels going farther down toward the floor, demonstrating progress!
High lunge is a great way to stretch out your muscles while working on balance and strength. Step one foot out in front of the other to where you can comfortably bend your front knee at a 90-degree angle with the ground. Let your back leg bend rather than locking, but don’t let the knee come all the way down to the ground. Raise your arms in a triumphant greeting to the sky, and feel how the energy flows throughout your arms and legs. This pose is great for feeling strong in the mornings, even if you wake up tired and groggy.
Working Against Stress and For Enjoyment
As you practice yoga, many other poses may make you feel strong or relaxed, and all of those poses are great options too. Anything that calms feelings of worry or stress can be helpful to your pursuit of pregnancy, in the sense that enjoying yourself and feeling calm keeps your body from experiencing the negative effects of excessive cortisol from stress. At the same time, if you are feeling frustrated or worried, a high-intensity yoga class can sometimes be exactly what you need. Many feel powerful and cleansed after a sweaty hot yoga class or fast-paced vinyasa flow class. Whatever kind of yoga you choose to practice, even if it is just a few poses occasionally, can be part of your healthy pursuit of fertility.