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Is Fertility Yoga all about getting pregnant? Going beyond conception with fertility yoga

Fertility yoga - is it all just about getting pregnant? The simple answer is no, sadly no one can offer guarantees of conception, but I can offer you tools to connect with your body, to move with your menstrual cycle or assisted reproduction process, and to empower yourself through body literacy.

For many women, the first time they come to learn in some depth about their menstrual cycle is when they decide it’s time they’d like to try to have a baby. Before that, most of us seem to run scared throughout our lives that we’ll get pregnant at the drop of a hat and avoid it at all costs by using hormonal contraceptives or other forms of contraception.

Learning to dance with my own rhythm

When I came to try for a baby for the first time at 29yrs old, I am embarrassed to say, it was the first time I properly understood that there is actually only a very small window in which we women can fall pregnant - roughly the 5day fertile window before, and at ovulation. It was quite a revelation that you can’t get pregnant any old time, or when you simply hold hands with your boyfriend at 16yrs old, and definitely not when you’re mis-timing sex with your partner when you actually want to conceive. I’d started taking the contraceptive Pill at 14yrs old (when I look back now, I can’t believe how young I was and how easily the doctor dished it out!), and carried on taking it until I was 28yrs old. That is a pretty long time for your natural hormonal cycle to be hi-jacked. It meant that I didn’t have to worry about an unwanted pregnancy, which is a hugely freeing for a woman who wants to be sexual active and free, but on the flip-side it meant that I was totally disconnected from the natural cycle and rhythm that should have been flowing in me, and that’s not even mentioning the damage that can be done by long term use of any hormonal contraceptive.

Since that first time of trying for a baby, over 10yrs ago, to the current day (I’m now 40yrs old), I’ve not used any hormonal contraceptives and have never been more in tune with my body and menstrual cycle. Conceiving and birthing my son was the beginning of me starting to fully understand the power of mother nature and the natural cycle that runs through us as women. Moving into my late 30’s, and trying for my second child with Jon (my partner now) has led me to a whole new level of understanding and appreciation of my body and the fine-tuned balance and information that lies within.

Connecting with your natural cycle

Fertility yoga can help you understand the fine-tuned ebb and flow of your menstrual cycle and how to flow with it. This type of yoga practice focuses on movement, meditation and visualisation that compliments and supports your body, mind and hormones at different times of the month and different times of your cycle. Flowing with your cycle in this way can help you to attune to your menstrual cycle, noticing how there are natural points during each cycle where you may feel more energised, more sexy, more low, more angry, more withdrawn - these heightened feelings are all natural throughout a woman's menstrual cycle, altering as our hormone levels change in each cycle. Once you start to connect more deeply with the different phases of your cycle and read them in your own body, then you can begin to offer supportive yoga practices and lifestyle practices for each phase to really boost your vitality and fertility.

Staying connected with yourself through assisted fertility

But what happens when all of your hormones and natural cycles are ‘switched off’ through assisted reproduction technologies (ART), such as IVF? Travelling down the road of ART to reach conception can sometimes feel so far removed from a ‘natural’ conception or anything to do with ‘mother nature’ that you might wonder how on earth Fertility Yoga can be relevant here, but it is....practicing Fertility Yoga whilst moving through an IVF process can help you to stay connected to your body, your womb, and your intention to create a new life, in an otherwise separate or clinical feeling space. Yoga can support you through the process of IVF, using poses, meditations, visualisations and affirmations that support the body and mind through the different phases e.g. ovulation stimulation, egg retrieval and transfer, and of course the ‘two week wait’ period.

Coping with stress and loss

When faced with challenges in conceiving, whether you are moving through those challenges on a natural conception journey or ART, it can be a hugely stressful and emotional time for a woman (and her partner). There may be feelings of loss, or grief, or anger or frustration that your ‘body isn’t doing what it should do’. Fertility yoga can offer you a space to relax, to release emotional and physical stress you may be holding, and can offer a safe space to be held and nurtured.

Empower yourself

Fertility Yoga may not be able to promise you a baby, but practising yoga that is focused on your fertile feminine energies as a woman and your personal fertility journey can help you to feel stronger and more in control. Through yoga movement, meditation, breathing exercises, visualisations and dialogue you can understand and connect with your body, in a way that empowers you and can support you through the highs and lows of fertility and any conception journey.

Empower yourself.

Love yourself.

Trust in your body and your journey.

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