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Yoga's Impact on Fertility

A diagnosis of infertility and its accompanying medications and procedures can create an enormous amount of stress - on par with the stress felt by women with heart disease, cancer or HIV-positive status. According to studies, this stress may actually contribute to your inability to conceive and many experts recommend reducing stress as much as possible. Yoga has been used for centuries to calm the mind, stir the spirit, and tone the body, and it may also help you conceive.

A study published in Fertility and Sterility found that women undergoing in vitro fertilization who reported high stress levels produced fewer eggs than those who were more relaxed. In addition, a study performed by Alice Domar, director of the Mind/Body Center for Women's Health at Harvard Medical School, showed that women who had been trying to conceive for one to two years and concentrated on relaxation therapies (including yoga and meditation) were more likely to conceive than the other study participants who were given just fertility medication or participated in a fertility support group.

According to Julie Cade Bon, a certified yoga teacher and owner of Partnership for Pregnancy, which offers retreats for couples struggling with infertility, "Yoga tones and strengthens the muscles that support reproductive organs and improves spinal alignment, enabling better circulation and improved capacity and quality of respiration."

More research is needed to scientifically confirm a cause-and-effect relationship between increased fertility and stress-reduction practices such as yoga; however, reducing infertility-related stress and improving your overall health with yoga certainly can't hurt and, as an added bonus, couples' yoga can even bring you closer to your partner.

There are many different styles of yoga - some quite intense and not beneficial for fertility, such as Ashtanga and Bikram. Instead, choose more soothing, relaxing forms of yoga such as Hatha and Kripalu. In couples' yoga, postures are performed with the help of your partner and can help facilitate better communication and ease relationship stress.

Yoga enhances the flow of energy through energy channels, which are part of the "chakra" system. Fertility yoga focuses on the second chakra, which is important for sexual health. It is located near the lower abdomen and groin and controls the reproductive organs and influences sensation, pleasure, sexuality and fertility. Most fertility yoga sessions focus on deep relaxation poses to reduce stress and to balance the body's hormones, as well as poses designed to increase circulation to the reproductive organs.

If you are interested in fertility yoga, try the following poses at home: Supported Bridge Pose

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