Fertility is the ability or reproductive capacity to conceive a pregnancy and produce offspring that involves various physiological factors.
In males, fertility is determined by the quality, quantity, and motility of sperm which is also referred to as Beeja (seed) in Ayurveda. Sperm quality refers to the sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg, while quantity refers to the number of sperm produced. Motility refers to the sperm’s ability to swim effectively towards the egg for fertilization. Factors that can affect male fertility include hormonal imbalances, genetic conditions, structural abnormalities, infections, lifestyle factors (such as smoking, alcohol, and drug use), and certain medications.
In females, fertility is influenced by several factors. Ovulation is a key factor, which is the release of a mature egg from the ovary. Fertility also depends on the health and function of the reproductive organs, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. Hormonal balance, regular menstrual cycles, and the ability of the uterus to support implantation and pregnancy are crucial for female fertility. Factors that can impact female fertility include hormonal disorders, ovulation disorders, structural abnormalities, age, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and other underlying health conditions.
How does Yoga help in improving fertility?
When it comes to fertility, yoga can be a valuable tool to support reproductive health and increase the chances of conception. Let’s look at some factors that are major causes of infertility and how Yoga helps.
- Stress Reduction: Infertility can be a stressful experience for individuals and couples. High levels of stress can negatively impact hormonal balance and fertility. Yoga offers various techniques to manage stress, such as deep breathing, relaxation exercises, and mindfulness meditation. By practicing these techniques, yoga helps to calm the nervous system, reduce anxiety, and promote emotional well-being, creating a more fertile environment.
- Hormonal Balance: Hormonal imbalances can be a contributing factor to fertility issues. Certain yoga poses stimulate the endocrine system, which is responsible for hormone production and regulation. Poses like Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana) and Supported Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana) help improve blood flow to the thyroid and pituitary glands, which are crucial for hormone balance.
- Pelvic Circulation: Adequate blood flow to the reproductive organs is essential for optimal fertility. Yoga poses like Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana) and Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana) open the hips and increase circulation to the pelvis. These poses also target the pelvic floor muscles, strengthening them and improving the overall health of the reproductive system.
- Detoxification: Detoxifying the body is beneficial for reproductive health. Yoga twists, such as Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana) and Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana), help to stimulate the organs and improve digestion. This assists in eliminating toxins and waste products from the body, creating a cleaner environment for conception.
- Emotional Support: Yoga is not just a physical practice; it also addresses emotional and psychological aspects. Fertility challenges can evoke various emotions, including frustration, sadness, and anxiety. Yoga provides a safe space for individuals to explore and release these emotions. Regular practice can improve emotional well-being, reduce depression, and enhance self-esteem, creating a positive mindset for fertility.
- Mind-Body Connection: Yoga emphasizes the mind-body connection, encouraging individuals to become more attuned to their bodies and inner selves. This awareness can be beneficial when trying to conceive, as it helps individuals understand their menstrual cycles, ovulation patterns, and subtle changes in their bodies. By tuning into their bodies, individuals can make more informed decisions about their fertility and take proactive steps to optimize their chances of conception.
By reducing stress, balancing hormones, improving pelvic circulation, promoting detoxification, and enhancing the mind-body connection, yoga creates an optimal environment for conception. Incorporating yoga into a holistic approach to fertility can help individuals and couples navigate the journey with greater ease and well-being.
Yoga postures for fertility
- Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana): Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together. Gently press your knees towards the floor, allowing your hips to open up. This posture helps improve blood flow to the pelvic area and stretches the inner thighs.
- Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana): Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips off the ground and place a block or bolster underneath your sacrum for support. This pose increases blood circulation to the pelvic area and stimulates the reproductive organs, thyroid gland thereby supporting them to function well.
- Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani): Lie on your back with your legs extended up against a wall. Relax your arms by your sides. This posture helps improve blood circulation, reduces stress, and calms the nervous system.
- Child’s Pose (Balasana): Kneel on the floor, sitting back on your heels. Lower your torso forward, resting your forehead on the mat and extending your arms forward or by your sides. This pose helps release tension in the lower back and promotes relaxation.
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana): Lie on your stomach with your palms placed near your chest. Press your hands into the floor, lift your chest, and lengthen your spine. This pose increases blood flow to the reproductive organs and stimulates the ovaries.
- Warrior pose A (Veer Bhadrasana A): Stand on top of the mat, step your left leg back, and bend your right knee. Sink into your groin feeling that strengthening of your pelvic floor muscles and raise your hands up extending your spine. This posture is very good to get that spinal stability as well as flowing more blood towards your pelvic area.
Other Yogic practise for fertility
Meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises) can be valuable practices to support fertility by reducing stress, balancing hormones, and enhancing overall well-being. Here are a few meditation and pranayama techniques that you can incorporate into your fertility journey:
- Mindful Meditation: Find a quiet and comfortable space. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Focus on the sensation of inhaling and exhaling, observing each breath without judgment. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the breath. Practice this meditation for 10-15 minutes daily to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
- Visualization: During meditation, visualize your body as a fertile and welcoming environment for conception. Imagine the reproductive organs healthy and functioning optimally. Create a vivid mental image of the process of conception and pregnancy. Engage your senses, visualize the sensations, and hold a positive intention for fertility.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana): Sit comfortably with your spine erect. Place your left hand on your left knee, palm facing up, and bring your right hand to your nose. Use your right thumb to close your right nostril and inhale through the left nostril. Close the left nostril with your ring finger, release the right nostril, and exhale through the right nostril. Continue this pattern, inhaling through the right nostril, closing it, and exhaling through the left nostril. Repeat for several minutes, focusing on smooth, deep, and rhythmic breaths. This pranayama technique helps balance energy and harmonize the body.
- Bee Breath (Bhramari Pranayama): Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Place your index fingers on the cartilage between your cheeks and ears. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, gently press the cartilage, creating a humming sound like a bee. Repeat this process for several rounds, focusing on the soothing vibration and sound. Bhramari Pranayama helps calm the mind, reduce stress, and create a sense of inner peace.
Remember to approach meditation and pranayama with consistency, patience, and self-compassion. These practices can be integrated into your daily routine and complement other aspects of your fertility journey.
To know more about these practices, join our upcoming batch of Pre and Postnatal Yoga Teacher training course in Rishikesh which covers preconception in detail practically as well as theoretically.