Yoga Department

Yoga Department

     “Just relax and it will happen.” If you’re dealing with infertility, this is the least helpful advice that you hear time and time again. If it were only that easy, right?

     That said, yoga is a relaxing activity. And there are some researched benefits regarding yoga, infertility, and the exercise’s ability to help couples release mental stress and physical tension.

     Here’s how you can reap the rewards of a regular yoga practice while trying to conceive (TTC).

Benefits of yoga for fertility

   In the United States, 1 in 8 couples experience infertility. Generally speaking about one-third of cases are due to a women’s fertility issue, another one-third are caused by a male issue, and the rest are a combo of the two or occur for unknown reasons.

Yoga shows some promise as a lifestyle change that may help promote healthy reproduction in both men and women.

Strengthens the body

   Having extra weight is a factor for infertility in both men and women. Along with healthy eating, exercise is an important part of any weight loss program.

   If you’re just starting out with workouts, yoga is a gentle way to ease your body into more regular movement. And while the poses don’t necessarily tax the joints, you’ll certainly feel a burn in your muscles and increased flexibility.

Eases stress, depression, and anxiety

   Studies Trusted Source have shown that up to 40 percent of women undergoing infertility treatment deal with some level of anxiety, depression, or both. Simply being told to “relax” can have a negative effect and lead to a vicious cycle of self-blame.

   Incorporating yoga and mindfulness exercises (deep breathing, for example) into your routine may help lower your body’s serum markers of stress and, in turn, improve immune system function. In one small 2015 study, 55 people undergoing infertility treatments performed yoga and attended a discussion group weekly for 6 weeks. Their self-described anxiety decreased by 20 percent.

Supports sperm production

   Low sperm counts in men across the globe is an increasingly commonTrusted Source issue. In many cases, the low counts can be attributed to lifestyle or environmental factors, such as having obesity, smoking, or exposure to chemicals. A 2013 studyTrusted Source showed that incorporating yoga into daily life may help lower stress and anxiety, regulate body function, and support sperm production.

   While more focus in this area is needed, the researchers ultimately concluded that yoga can improve male reproductive health and may help prevent infertility.

Safety of fertility yoga

   Yoga for fertility can be completely safe, even if you’re new to the practice. The key is to start slow and resist going too far into poses. Focus instead on your breathing and what feels comfortable. Going too deep into a pose without proper alignment can put you at risk for injury.

   Beyond that, you may want to ask your doctor if there are any reasons you should steer clear of yoga. For example, ask your doctor what guidelines you should follow if you’re doing ovarian stimulation as part of IVF. With vigorous exercise, you may be at an increased risk of a medical emergency called ovarian torsion.

   Many yoga poses are gentle and can be completed at your own pace, but your doctor can clarify any major do’s and don’ts for you.

   And you may want to skip hot yoga — at least until after your pregnancy. While there aren’t many studies regarding TTC, research Trusted Source does show that yoga in artificially heated environments may be dangerous during pregnancy.