Fertility Yoga 101 – expert pointers and poses for when you’re TTC

June 28, 2024 5:45 pm

Fertility Yoga 101 – Expert Pointers and Poses for When You’re TTC” was initially published in The Ribbon Box and is shared here with permission.

Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a novice, if you’re TTC and looking for a new approach, fertility yoga could be the holistic fertility support you’ve been searching for. But how does it work, and what should you know before you start?

An instructor’s introduction to fertility yoga

When you’re on the journey to conception, it’s natural to want to do everything possible to prepare and support your body. As well as get some reassurance.

The best support comes from seasoned experts who truly understand the nuances of your journey. That’s why we’ve connected with certified yoga instructor Sarah Manning. 

With her extensive 28 years of experience teaching yoga and working with women, Sarah is a trusted expert in supporting female health through the power of yoga. Her knowledge spans menstruation and fertility to menopause, making her the perfect guide for your fertility journey.

Thrive, an online Fertility Wellness program , Sarah has crafted a collection of nurturing qigong fertility yoga courses. Pronounced “chee-gong”, this type of yoga is uniquely powerful for fertility, thanks to its combination of physical movement, yoga poses, and ancient qigong breathing techniques. It’s a fascinating approach you might find beneficial for your fertility journey. 

In this 101, Sarah will cover off: 

  • What to know before you get on the mat 
  • Key things that might be impacting your fertility journey and how fertility yoga can help support them
  • Easy fertility yoga poses for when you’re ready to get started

Does any of this resonate? Please hop over to Thrive to book a yoga class and sign up for our virtual health hub, which is here to help you thrive physically, emotionally, and mentally through your journey to conception.

Is it safe to do yoga while trying to conceive?

First, when it comes to practising yoga while trying to conceive, so much depends on you, your body, and what you feel comfortable with.

Specifically, qigong fertility yoga is all about optimising for fertility and creating a really gentle, supportive and tailored practice that puts you, your cycle and your hormones first. 

So, if you are healthy and fit, yoga is safe. And no, you don’t need to be super flexible or have lots of yoga experience to try it. Fertility yoga is for everyone, and everyone can benefit from it.

What are the benefits of fertility yoga?

It reduces stagnation in the body.

Most of us spend much of our time in a sedentary position, which can lead to bodily stagnation. In fact, we sit for years and years, almost all of our lives—from the moment we start school to college and the workplace. 

Our physical bodies weren’t designed for this, and this significant stagnation can have seriously detrimental effects on crucial components within our bodies, including: 

  • Blood circulation
  • Lymphatic flow
  • The flow of qi (vital energy)

When these vital systems remain completely stagnant, it can impact several aspects related to fertility. 

Firstly, the free flow of lymph (which contains highly concentrated detoxifying white blood cells) to the ovaries and uterus may become compromised, leading to a build-up of toxins and potentially hindering their optimal function. Plus, the free flow of blood to the uterus itself can be impeded, which may contribute to issues like endometriosis, fibroids, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Also, according to ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine, which views the body as a whole, stagnation of our qi, which is believed to flow throughout our body and organs, can cause imbalance and illness. More specifically, qi stagnation in the Liver, Spleen and Kidney meridians is thought to cause fertility problems – impacting ovulation, menstruation and progesterone production. 

Qigong fertility yoga is unique in providing effective ways to counteract bodily stagnation. Specific yoga poses that involve opening, compressing, and twisting, paired with qigong breathing, can serve as powerful tools for release. 

Engaging in these poses encourages unimpeded movement of qi and improves blood flow, which brings oxygen and building blocks for cell rejuvenation. We also facilitate lymphatic flow, which aids in the removal of dead cells and toxins from our bodies. 

It can improve hormone balance.

We’ve got about fifty different hormones constantly circulating in the bloodstream. As you’ll know, many of them are key players in supporting fertility. 

The optimum balance of these hormones for health and fertility is primarily impacted by our lifestyles – from our busy lives to our current stress load, the toxins we interact with, and the quality of our food intake. 

For example, the precursor for progesterone (which can impact fertility factors like ovulation and thickening of womb lining, plus the risk of miscarriage and endometrial cancer) is also the precursor for cortisol. If we’re constantly making stress hormones, our bodies might struggle to produce sufficient progesterone, which can impact conception. 

Some of the symptoms of low progesterone include variable menstrual cycle length, spotting between periods and low libido. Check out our lowdown on progesterone and tracking for fertility success here.

Diaphragmatic breathing is a crucial element of qigong fertility yoga and is one of the best ways to bring your hormones back into balance – by tackling these hormonal stressors head-on.

It can help nurture your mental health. 

Getting adequate emotional support is undeniably crucial when embarking on the journey of trying to conceive, which, as many of us already know, can be an emotional rollercoaster at the best of times.

a woman with her eyes closed

As a holistic practice, yoga delves deeply into nurturing the emotional aspect of our well-being. It offers valuable tools for calming the sympathetic nervous system, pivotal in our body’s stress response. 

Qigong fertility yoga facilitates a sense of serenity within the mind, critical to unlocking a grounded and relaxed state. This, in turn, serves as an effective method for managing stress and navigating the challenging emotions a fertility journey can bring.

It’s an essential escape from our frantic and goal-oriented modern lifestyles.

Yoga can also restore balance to our lives as we navigate the path to conception. Fertility yoga uses many of the principles of Restorative and Yin yoga—both rooted in the ancient Taoist principles of Yin and Yang. Yin represents calm, passivity, and stillness, while Yang embodies activity, excitement, and upward movement.

Your health is also determined by balancing Yin and Yang, ensuring the different energy flows in the body are neither depleted nor in excess.

Focusing primarily on the “Yin” aspect enhances blood flow and promotes a sense of tranquillity. This practice encourages us to embrace stillness, starkly contrasting the often frantic pace of our busy lives. 

Granting ourselves permission to pause physically and mentally is a crucial component of navigating a fertility journey.

3 easy qigong fertility yoga poses

Sitting forward fold

a woman stretching on a mat

This pose compresses the belly and helps to relieve stagnation. When we release it, body fluids, blood, and lymph flood back in. The back body (from your neck to your heels) is stretched, and you’ll get direct stimulation to all the organs in the belly and pelvis—including your ovaries and womb.

Sit on your mat with your legs straight out in front. First, sit up tall and gently fold over. Don’t worry about touching your toes!

As you hold this pose, breathe naturally in through the nose, then exhale through pursed lips as slowly, softly and smoothly as you can. This is called Soft Chui – the Water breath and brings a cooling descending energy.

Bridge pose

a woman lying on a mat

This pose opens the groin, hips, belly and pelvis – and frees the diaphragm. It provides direct stimulus to all the organs of the abdomen and pelvis, including the ovaries and womb.

Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Push into your feet and lift the belly as high as you can. You might want to skip this one if you have neck or shoulder injuries. 

As you hold this pose, notice your breath and the resulting soft movement of the belly.  This is called Diaphragmatic breathing, and it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system.

Mountain brook pose

a woman lying on a yoga mat

This one is restorative and low-impact. It opens the chest and diaphragm to let you breathe more deeply.

Lie on your back with pillows or blankets under your upper torso and your knees for soft support. Get comfy, and let the tongue tip come to the upper palate, jaw soft, breathing in and out through the nose. 

This is called Fu breathing – the Metal breath – with an inward and condensing energy.

Feeling ready to get started with an expert instructor to hold your hand? Book a qigong fertility yoga class with Sarah through Thrive, and sign up for our virtual health hub for more holistic support tailored to your fertility journey.

The team at The Ribbon Box know that family-building, pregnancy, and parenthood aren’t always straightforward. Check out The Ribbon Box community to stay up to date and get practical support, discounts and handy tips like these delivered straight to your inbox.

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