Can fertility yoga and meditation enhance conception chances?
Falling pregnant is no easy feat for many couples. Consequently stress and anxiety can become overwhelming for those trying to have a baby without success.
This can create a negative feedback loop. The more stressed and anxious you become, the more it disrupts hormonal balances and makes conceiving even harder.
This is one of the reasons why there is a growing interest in fertility yoga and meditation. These practices are examples of alternative treatments that couples are turning to with hopes to improve their conception chances.
The basics of meditation
Meditation is a methodology that has been practiced for thousands of years. It is a method for ‘transforming the mind’. Many of the techniques focus on developing clarity, concentration, calmness, and emotional positivity.
The aim is to understand the patterns and habits of the mind to cultivate new, positive ways of approaching life.
Essentially, mediation is a state of thoughtless awareness. This is a state where excess stress can be neutralised through the mind without decreasing alertness.
It is designed to enable focus on the present rather than the undetermined future or unchangeable past.
The science behind the effects of meditation is thought to relate to slowing the release of stress hormones such as catecholamines[1. “Infante, R. et.al. (2001). Catecholamine levels in practitioners of the transcendental meditation technique. Physiology & Behavior. Volume 72, Issue 1-2, (pp. 141-6)”.]. Also changes to actions within the parasympathetic nervous system and the autonomic nervous system are believed to alter the way the body deals with stress[2. “Newberg, A. and Iversen, J. (2003). The neural basis of the complex mental task of meditation: neurotransmitter and neurochemical considerations. Medical Hypotheses. Volume 61, Issue 2, (pp. 282-91).”.].
There may also be other unique neurophysiological effects, although they are yet to be determined.
The basics of yoga
Like meditation, yoga has been around for thousands of years and is widely practiced. Originating in India, the practice combines mental, physical, and spiritual awareness. The word ‘yoga’ means ‘union’.
While most people associated the asanas (postures) of yoga as a major aspect of the discipline, this is considered the most superficial aspect of the practice. There are many different branches of yoga including hatha, karma, mantra, bhakti, rajo, and jnana.
Although there is a significant ‘spiritual’ side to the yoga disciple, this is not necessarily the reason why people take up this practice. The asanas, breathing exercises, and meditation help to create a healthier mind, body, and spirit. It’s this outcome that many people are looking for when it practicing yoga.
What is fertility yoga and fertility meditation?
Fertility yoga and meditation are practices that can help prepare the body and mind for pregnancy. Over recent years fertility yoga and meditation have become more popular and are often practiced as a single discipline.
Fertility meditation is a new branch of meditation helping people to focus on alleviating the stress of trying to conceive. It also aims to introduce positive visualisations to connect with the body and improve the chances of conception.
For many people who use meditation in their lives on a regular basis the concept of fertility mediation seems very logical and beneficial. However, for those that are new to the idea of meditating, this connection of ‘mind’, ‘body’, and ‘soul’ may not appear helpful.
Nevertheless, alternative fertility treatments have a strong following and many people believe that their ability to successfully conceive and have a healthy baby has been due to these approaches.
There are many alternative health practitioners that offer fertility meditation classes and similar therapies. YouTube is also a common source of different videos and tutorials to help step people through fertility meditation processes, such as this one by Lori Rossi:
Many practitioners offer free online guides and programs that people can subscribe to, as well as paid courses, CDs and other sources.
Fertility meditation can be combined with fertility yoga. The aim is to stimulate the sacral chakra. One of the seven centres of spiritual power in the body, the sacral chakra is located in the lower abdomen and linked to the testes, uterus, and ovaries. It is referred to as the ‘pleasure seeker’; it is this shakra that is believed to govern fertility.
There are several yoga asanas that can benefit the sacral chakra and this is thought to benefit fertility. For the best results it’s recommended to combine fertility mediation with fertility yoga to improve conception chances.
The fertility yoga asanas
There are three top asanas that are practiced in fertility yoga. These include ‘the dancer’, ‘the twisting triangle’, and ‘the sun salutation sequence’. The following videos provide examples of these asanas:
** Please note – These videos are provided as examples only. They are not intended as instructional material.
Is fertility yoga and meditation just for women?
There tends to be a strong focus on fertility yoga and meditation directed towards women. Helping women to visualise falling pregnant is a core concept in fertility meditation. There are self-hypnosis meditation programs, fertility relaxation guides, meditation through pregnancy programs, and even female fertility meditation mobile apps.
However, this does not mean that men don’t benefit from fertility meditation.
The key idea is to relieve stress and anxiety while simultaneously empowering positive thinking. There are many different branches of meditation. Some of the most practiced include transcendental, mindfulness, Japa, and Sahaja Yoga.
The aim is to find a comfortable form of meditation that can help you relax and ease any tension. Thus, fertility meditation can be beneficial for both men and women.
The same applies for fertility yoga. Both men and women will certainly physically benefit from practicing yoga and this can help to improve fertility.
Dr. Kooner is Deputy Director of The Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago and has been a Specialist in Fertility Treatment since 1999.
As well as the areas that the clinic specialises in general, he is particularly interested in managing oocyte donation, female same-sex couples, single women having sperm donation and those considering egg freezing.
Dr. Kooner regularly speaks at fertility meetings. He has published in national journals and constantly contributes to the fertility research and publications from Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago.