Fertility Yoga: 10 Poses & Routines for When You’re TTC
When struggling with infertility, you may sometimes feel as though you’ve exhausted all of your options. The stress of trying multiple different treatments to no avail can weigh on your conscience — and this inner turmoil can make it even more difficult to conceive.
Enter the practice of fertility yoga. Women who have had multiple miscarriages, have been struggling for years to get pregnant, or have even considered giving up on their fertility journey are finding solace in the ancient practice of yoga, which relieves stress, offers social support, and may even help them get pregnant at last.
Science supports the role of yoga in conception. One study found that practicing yoga improved the success rate in couples using assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to get pregnant. Yoga can also help patients with infertility manage their complex emotions surrounding the process of fertility treatments.
Another study found a significant reduction in anxiety and depression among women undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) who completed a six-week yoga program.
But how (and why) does yoga for fertility work? And how can you practice it at home to reap the benefits? This blog post explores the reasoning behind fertility yoga and will instruct you on simple poses and routines you can try at home to support your fertility journey.
Can Yoga Help With Fertility?
Yoga can improve fertility in combination with other fertility treatments. It cannot directly improve sperm or egg quality, but it can be an important part of a fertility-promoting lifestyle. Stress and obesity, for example, are both linked to anovulatory infertility. Yoga can play an important role in helping you manage stress and maintain a healthy weight while trying to conceive (TTC).
While much of the evidence surrounding yoga for fertility is anecdotal, this makes sense, considering that many of the causes of infertility cannot be explained by science, either. As many as 20 percent of cases of infertility are considered “idiopathic” or unable to be explained by doctors. This is one of the many reasons why increasing numbers of women are turning to yoga to aid in their journey toward becoming pregnant.
Benefits of Yoga When You’re TTC
There are many reasons why yoga may be a successful component of treatment for infertility. While it cannot replace traditional treatments like IUI or IVF, it can benefit women by relieving the psychological stress associated with an infertility diagnosis — which, for many women, has been shown to be as distressing as a diagnosis of cancer, HIV or heart disease.
Fertility yoga is a specialized type of yoga class or group of poses designed especially for women struggling with infertility. These yoga classes can have a number of benefits for women who are TTC (or even suffering from pregnancy blues), including:
- Stress relief. The classes emphasize the importance of breathwork and relaxation to relieve the stress associated with infertility.
- Muscle relaxation. Fertility yoga uses poses that open the muscles around the hips and pelvis to promote a healthy pregnancy.
- Chakra stimulation. In the practice of yoga, there are several chakras, or energy centers, associated with fertility. The second chakra, in particular, is vital to fertility; located just below the navel, this center can be stimulated through poses that open the pelvis and increase blood flow to the reproductive organs.
- Release the need for control. Yoga encourages you to release your need for control, something that can be especially difficult for women with infertility. Many women report that once they let go of their need to control the process, they were finally able to get pregnant after years of struggle.
7 Fertility Yoga Poses
The ancient practice of yoga was developed in Northern India over 5,000 years ago and is still very much in use today. You can use various yoga poses to boost your fertility, all without leaving the comfort of your home!
Below, we share some of the best yoga poses for amplifying fertility, relieving stress, and opening the hips and pelvis. The best part? All you need is a mat or soft surface to practice on, and you will be well on your way to becoming more fertile in no time.
1. Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose
This pose works by helping you to soften the muscles of the vaginal wall while increasing blood flow to the pelvis. Lay on your back with your bottom pressed against the wall and your legs lifted, resting against the wall. Your body should form a 90-degree angle between your torso and your legs. Stay in this pose for 10-15 breaths to promote fertility and relax the pelvic floor.
2. Reclining Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)
This pose relaxes the muscles of the inner thighs and groin, which can help relieve stress as well as the discomfort of a medicated fertility cycle associated with IVF treatment. Lay on your back with a pillow or bolster beneath your neck, if desired. Bend your knees and place the soles of your feet together, allowing them to gently fall open toward the floor in a butterfly position. Your palms should rest on the mat beside you, facing upward. Take 10-15 deep, slow breaths to help you relax.
3. Warrior II
An active pose, Warrior II is one of the most popular yoga poses for promoting fertility because of its opening and strengthening effects on the hips and sides. While standing, take a step forward and flex the foot. Your front foot should point forward and your back foot should face the side. Bend your front knee and open your body to the side, extending your arms out long. Look at the front hand for five breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.
4. Cobra Pose
Cobra pose elongates and stretches the upper and lower back to increase blood flow to the ovaries and uterus. (However, it should be avoided if pregnancy is suspected.) Lay face-down on the floor and draw your hands toward your shoulders, palms flat on the mat. Spread your legs slightly. Push into your hands and arch your back upwards as far back as is comfortable. Contract the navel, but not your glutes. Hold for five breaths.
5. Bridge Pose
Bridge pose exerts gentle pressure on the thyroid glands, promoting healthy thyroid function (which is important to a healthy pregnancy). The pose also strengthens and stabilizes the sacrum to support the surrounding muscles and decrease inflammation in the body. To perform bridge pose, lay with your feet on the floor, bending your knees and resting your feet beneath them. As you inhale, put weight into your heels and lift your hips toward the ceiling. Hold your hands beneath your back if possible to deepen the stretch. Breathe five times, then gently release.
6. Frog Pose
Frog pose opens the hips and stimulates blood flow to the reproductive organs. It can be an intense stretch, but also incredibly grounding. To try it, position yourself in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Then, slowly bring your knees out to the side, turning your feet out so your inner thighs touch the floor. Come down onto your forearms, or lay flat against the floor with your forehead resting on your hands — whatever feels best to you. Stay in this pose for 10-15 breaths.
7. Goddess Pose
Goddess pose is an empowering pose — especially for women — but it is also great for boosting blood flow to the reproductive organs and opening up the pelvis and hips. Get into goddess pose by standing with your feet three feet apart, bending your elbows at shoulder height, and turning your palms to face one another. Turn your feet outwards, as close to 45 degrees as you can muster. As you exhale, bend your knees over your toes in a squatting position. It’s okay to start by squatting higher up and to move lower as you grow more flexible in your yoga practice.
Three Fertility Yoga Routines We Love
When first starting out with yoga, it can be easier to follow along with an experienced practitioner than to practice on your own. Many yogis make YouTube videos sharing their fertility yoga routines for you to try at home. These three fertility yoga routines are available for free on YouTube to practice wherever and whenever you want!
1. Gentle Morning Yoga for Infertility and Conceiving
If you have been stressed out about getting pregnant, then this routine is for you. Instructor Brett Larkin specifically designed this routine to relieve stress associated with infertility and conception. The moves are gentle and simple enough for yogis of any level to try, meaning you don’t need to be an expert to get the benefits of fertility yoga from this video.
2. Yoga for Ovulation to Implantation
The two-week wait after ovulation to see whether your efforts have been successful can be one of the most stressful times for couples that are TTC. This yoga sequence by Bettina Rae is specially designed for the 6-12 days following ovulation, to help alleviate anxiety and visualize a successful implantation.
3. 15-Minute Bedtime Yoga for Fertility
When you are short on time and craving some relaxation before bed, this sequence by Live Fertile is the perfect solution. It will help you relieve stress, increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, and wind down before bed for better sleep — which, as we know, is equally as important as physical activity to maintaining a healthy lifestyle when TTC.
Where to Start
Once you’ve decided to try fertility yoga, you might find yourself asking, what next? Without guidance, it can be challenging to know what the next steps are when it comes to getting started with fertility yoga. That being said, here is our best advice for building a regular fertility yoga practice at home.
Never Done Yoga?
If you have never done yoga before, the idea of trying fertility yoga might feel intimidating. You might worry that you aren’t flexible enough, don’t have the right body type, or aren’t advanced enough in your practice for fertility yoga. Rest assured that fertility yoga is meant for all bodies, ages, and fitness levels. No matter where you are in your yoga journey, you can find a fertility yoga sequence that feels right to you.
When building a fertility yoga practice from scratch, it’s best to start small. We recommend starting with one or two short yoga videos a week. A few weeks later, build up to twice a week, then three times, and so on until you’ve created a fertility yoga practice that’s perfect for you, your body, and your schedule. And, of course, if you aren’t doing regular exercise, make sure to get cleared by your doctor before starting a new fitness routine!
Like any form of exercise, there is a small risk of injury that comes with yoga. You can minimize this risk by practicing yoga safely and at your own pace.
The most important thing is that you do not push your body past its limits. When you are first starting out, you may feel pressured to work toward a difficult pose — but don’t be afraid to take modifications when you need them. Listen to your body and find the poses that feel best to you. Don’t compare yourself to yogis in a video, who have likely been practicing for years. Instead, work at your own pace until you feel comfortable trying more difficult moves.
Remember that it is always okay to pause or stop practicing anytime you need. If you feel like you need a break, take a moment to breathe in child’s pose until you are ready to start again. Props like yoga blocks can also help you adapt more challenging moves to where your body is right now. These props can be purchased inexpensively on Amazon and can help make your home yoga practice much safer.