Could Yoga Aid Fertility?

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

Yoga is great for stress relief, physical fitness and increased focus. Could it also help you conceive? That’s the idea behind yoga for fertility. The New York Times recently ran a story on yoga classes specifically designed to aid in the conception of a baby. 

Many medical centers have teamed up with yoga instructors to offer courses in yoga for fertility: New York University’s Fertility Center runs a class, as does Chicago at the Fertility Centers of Illinois, and Washington, DC’s Shady Grove Fertility. Some yoga studios also feature classes designed to boost the chances of conception.

Researchers have long studied the link between stress relief and infertility – several clinical trials have indicated that a woman battling stress is less likely to conceive. Medical centers offer yoga as a complement to traditional medical treatment: research has also shown that taking part in a mind-body wellness program can help with infertility.

So what happens in a yoga fertility class? It’s not sweaty Bikram yoga, nor is it vigorous ashtanga. The style of yoga practiced in these classes is more akin to calmer, slower Hatha yoga. Some doctors advise patients against strenuous exercise during fertility treatments: this style of yoga both satisfies doctor’s orders and relieves as much stress as more intense workouts.

Hip-opening poses can aid fertility. The double pigeon, a modified seated cross-legged/lotus posture, stretches the hip muscles. Reclining baddha konasana also helps to open the hips and increase blood flow to the groin – it’s akin to a butterfly position, where you put the soles of your feet together and let your knees splay out to the sides. In the reclining version of this pose, you lie on your back and perform baddha konasana. Seated baddha konasana is said to stimulate the ovaries.

If you’re struggling with infertility, yoga can help, whether or not you’re undergoing fertility treatments. Of course, it’s not guaranteed to get you pregnant – nothing is – but at the very least, it will release physical tension and slow your racing, worried mind. Yoga classes, especially for women with infertility issues, can also provide you with much-needed emotional support from people who truly understand what you’re going through – because they’re going through it themselves.

Originally published at