Though you may know the voice of Brenda Strong from ABC's Desperate Housewives, you may not know her as yoga instructor—specifically, one who specializes in yoga for fertility. Through her personal battle with infertility, and her work with other women, she developed a yoga curriculum, Strong Yoga4Fertiliy, that utilizes poses to nourish the reproductive organs, calm the nervous system, relax the mind and body, and to help boost fertility.
"One of the wonderful benefits of yoga is it teaches you to respect your journey," says Strong. "It requires that you approach everything as a process." And while there are many types of yoga to choose from, she says, not all types are ideal for fertility.
How Does Yoga Help with Fertility?
The research is clear—chronic stress can lead to a variety of health issues, both physical and psychological. And yoga has long been recognized as an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. But in addition, says Strong, certain yoga poses can help to detoxify the body while relaxing tight muscles and connective tissue.
Yoga for fertility focuses on improving blood flow and circulation to the low back (sacral plexus), hips, groins, and pelvis, which can aid in healthier gynecological function. As the body relaxes, the mind calms. Focused breathing aids the nervous system and helps lower stress hormones like cortisol, which can impede reproductive hormone function.
There are emotional benefits as well. Learning to listen to the body's natural rhythms through yoga and breathing can bring a deep sense of peace and connection to our own innate healing capacity, says Strong. A strong yoga practice can help women and couples feel more empowered on their journey toward conception.
The Best Fertility Poses
The yoga poses that best aid fertility have a few key things in common. The poses:
- increase circulation to the reproductive organs
- balance hormones
- reduce stress
You may have already heard that inversions like headstands and shoulder stands are powerful fertility aids—recommended because they can aid in balancing hormones. But since inversions and other advanced yoga poses require supervision, they don't make the top of Strong's list.
The following five yoga poses can be done safely, in the privacy of your own home:
- Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)—a reclining pose that softens the internal organs, opens the pelvis, unburdens the heart, and calms the mind
- Double Pigeon Pose (Dwi Pada Rajakapotasana)—a sitting pose that helps to release stored emotional trauma in the periformis muscle, which guards the gateway of energy in the hips
- Reclining Half Pigeon (Thread the Needle)—a pose done on your back that helps relieve tightness in the body
- Cobbler's Pose (Baddha Konasana)—a sitting pose that helps to open the hips and increases circulation in the pelvis
- Seated Angle Pose (Upavistha Konasana)—a sitting pose that stretches the hamstrings and helps the blood to circulate properly in the pelvic region
- Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)—a restorative pose that helps calm the nervous system and heart rate
Brenda's Strong Yoga4Fertility classes are unique because she offers participants expert instruction in yoga asanas (poses) and pranayama (breathing techniques) that nourish the reproductive organs, calm the nervous system, and relax the mind and body, helping to release accumulated anxiety and stress.
She teaches the Four Fields of Fertility©, which enables students to understand the innate connection between the mind and body as they learn specific techniques that will help them shift away from fear based anxiety to empowered presence and the ability to embrace their inherent ability to receive Life in all its forms of fertility. She also has developed specific breathing and visualization techniques specifically for fertility.
To learn more about the classes, her new Fertility Ball™, and yoga DVDs, visit www.yoga4fertility.com.