Dr. Arockia Virgin Fernando, Fertility Specialist, Gynaecologist, Fertility and IVF consultant, at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru (HRBR)
Yoga is an ancient method of relaxation, exercise, and body fitness that has gained a wide following across the world. It is derived from the Sanskrit word Yuj, which means union or yoke or to join that is to concentrate one’s attention. It rejuvenates the mind, body and soul. Yoga has been shown to ease anxiety and depression, lower blood pressure, improve joint pain and function, and relieve pain and many other mental and physical complaints. It may come as no surprise, then, that yoga may also serve to enhance sexual function. According to a study published online in The Journal of Sexual Medicine (Nov. 12, 2009), regular yoga practice improves several aspects of sexual function in women, including desire, arousal, orgasm, and overall satisfaction. As the stress and anxiety levels increase be it for career, spouse, fertility issues etc, it is equally important that we improve our immune system and the overall physical and mental health with Yoga. It helps to create awareness of self, the breath and energy.
Before we see the benefits of yoga on fertility. Let us understand the four basic principles of yoga. We all know that the human body has interrelated dimensions inseparable from one another and the health or illness of one will affect the other dimensions too. Individuals and their needs are unique. Yoga is self-empowering. Each person practicing yoga is their own healer. The quality and state of a person’s mind is crucial to healing. If there is a positive mind state healing happens more quickly.
Stress links to infertility
Stress, however, is known to raise the likelihood of infertility, and yoga is very effective at reducing stress. Women who have trouble conceiving experience anxiety and depression rates similar to those of patients with inflammation in arthritis, blood pressure, sleeping issues, migraine headaches; so they are likely to benefit immensely by practising Yoga. It is a well-known fact that the link between stress and infertility is complex and increased cortisol levels due to stress can interfere with ovulation in women and sperm production in men due to imbalance of hormones.
HOW CAN YOGA BOOST FERTILITY IN BOTH MEN & WOMEN?
Any woman who wants to enhance her reproductive health—whether diagnosed with infertility issue or not—can benefit from yoga. Here is how it helps:
- Yoga stimulates ovaries to ovulate.
- Strengthens and stretches back muscles
- Purifies energy channels, flushing out toxins from the body.
- Makes the groin and hip muscles more flexible.
- Improves erection by improving blood flow
- Improves sexual urge in both the partners
- Increases the blood flow to uterus, so improving the endometrial receptivity to receive the human embryo, so increases the chances of conception.
- Reduces stress and mood swings
- Yoga and meditation increases the clarity of mind, maintain healthy body chemistry and sustains people undergoing fertility treatments by helping in the decision making and creating a positive mind set to undergo the rigors of fertility treatment.
- Relaxation helps in the synchronisation of the body and mind
- Core alignment of the body brings peace and satisfaction and removes the guilt in so many childless couples
- Yoga definitely helps people undergoing fertility treatments and those who are trying to conceive naturally as yoga also combines healthy eating and lifestyle.
- Yoga reduces addiction to substances, alcohol and smoking and even reduces food cravings. All these indirectly boost fertility.
Aasanas which can improve Fertility
- Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend.
- Hastapadasana (standing forward bend)
- Janu Shirasasana (one legged forward bend)
- Baddha Konasana(butterfly pose)
- Viparita Karini (legs up the wall pose)
- Shavasana (corpse pose).
Benefits of Yoga during pregnancy
Yoga helps you in dealing with the symptoms of pregnancy like morning sickness and mood swings, ensuring smoother and easier delivery, and faster recovery after childbirth. So, if you want to make your pregnancy and childbirth a peaceful and easy journey, you must go for a prenatal yoga class during and after your pregnancy. Look for a prenatal yoga program where you are comfortable with the activities, style, and the yoga class environment. Always remember doing “Lamaze” which is a simple breathing yoga techniques, it always encourages you to be active throughout your pregnancy and increases your sense of wellbeing.
All the exercises should be started pre pregnancy so as to have the best result during pregnancy. Do not start exercise for the first time in the first trimester except the breathing exercises under the supervision and consultation of your gynaecologist/ fertility expert.
Remember – Whatever you choose, remember to breathe. While “just relaxing” may not automatically result in a baby, the lessons you take away from yoga can foster wellness in many areas of your life.
Benefits of Yoga
- Increased flexibility of body
- Increased muscle strength and tone
- Better respiration, improved oxygenation and energy
- Balanced metabolism
- Weight reduction
- Heart and circulatory health
- Improved athletic performance
- Improved sexual health and desire
- Healing from injury and inflammation
- It helps in developing more coping skills and creates a more positive outlook on life
- Regular yoga leads to mental clarity, calmness
- Relieves chronic stress patterns
Relaxes mind, increases concentration and attention.