I would add Butterfly pose to these (see below) with the caveat that there is no significant empirical evidence that yoga increases fertility (otherwise there would be a significantly lower infertility rate in India than anywhere else in the world, and there is not). However, taking care of yourself, eating well, and staying present contributes to an improved sense of personal autonomy, which is cruelly ruptured when one’s reproductive choices are challenged. Feeling better about your circumstances does influence what you believe you can do about them and yoga as a pathway to ‘feeling’ better does have strong empirical evidence. So ‘yoga’ away – there is no evidence that it is what is stopping you getting pregnant!
Yoga poses for fertility
THE SUPPORTED HEAD STAND
This pose is known as the mother of all yoga poses, as it is the most strenuous, and most challenging, but delivers incredible benefits.
While the body is inverted, pressure is taken off the heart, and hormones are boosted.
The top of the head is stimulated while the body is weightless and relaxed above the head.
This pose requires enormous concentration, which focuses the mind, and relieves bodily stress, which is extremely beneficial to fertility.
Hold this pose for 5 to 10 seconds at first, but add a few seconds each time, until you can comfortably hold the pose for a few minutes.
Note: if you are not experienced in the practice of yoga, ask someone to assist you in this pose. You can also keep your legs crossed, instead of lifting them straight up, if it makes it easier to hold the pose.
You can also do this pose against a wall for support.
THE SUPPORTED SHOULDER STAND
Similar to the head stand, this pose requires you to balance the weight of your body on your shoulders instead of the head.
This pose also stimulates the thyroid gland, as the head is tucked in and the sternum is pressing on the thyroid area. Keep your throat and tongue as relaxed as possible.
The pelvic region is relaxed, and blood flow is focused to the uterus.
Do NOT move your head while holding this pose, as you may injure your neck. If you have neck problems, rather do the simpler version below.
Hold this pose for 5 to 10 seconds at first; increasing the time each time you do the pose, until you can hold the pose for a few minutes.
Note: Again, ask someone to help support your legs if you are a beginner.
You can also do a simpler version of this pose by lying on your back, with cushions under your pelvis, and your legs held up against a wall. You can stay in this easier pose for much longer.
THE SUPPORTED BRIDGE POSE
This is a fairly strenuous exercise as it requires you to use your buttock muscles to hold yourself up. This is, of course, also a good thing!
In this pose you are lifting your pelvic region, allowing energy to circulate to the uterus and ovaries.
This is also slightly stimulating the thyroid gland in the throat.
Stay in this pose anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes, depending on your strength.
Note: If you are a beginner, this pose can be made slightly easier by tucking your shoulders backward and placing your elbows beneath your hip area, and supporting your lower back with your hands.
THE BUTTERFLY OR BOUND ANGLE POSE
This is a seated posture, and also a forward bend pose, which stimulates the pelvic region.
We all tend to carry a lot of tension in our hip area. For many people this pose can be quite difficult at first, because the hip area is ‘tight’ and needs to be opened out and the tension released.
With practice, this pose can help to release any negative energy that we hold in the hip and groin area.
Hold this pose from 1 to 5 minutes.
Note: If you are a beginner, you can do a slightly easier version of this called the Reclining Bound Angle Pose. Lie on your back instead of sitting in this pose, with cushions beneath your legs for support. Remember to keep the soles of your feet together, and make sure your lower back is on the ground.
This pose does wonders for your back as well as being beneficial for the pelvis. It is known for stimulating the hormones while bringing energy to the uterus and ovaries.
Hold this pose for several seconds, adding to the time with each practice.
Note: If you are a beginner, you can start with a Half Cobra pose, until your back is loosened and you are able to stretch into the fuller Cobra. You can rest on your lower arms, or just lift them slightly off the floor.
This looks simpler than it is. Forward bend work is beneficial for stimulating blood flow to the pelvic region.
Do NOT force yourself forward. Gently bend forward as far as you can, even if it means you can only put your hands on your knees.
Note: If you are a beginner or not particularly supple, you can simply sit with your legs out in front of you, with your back straight up and your toes flexed towards the ceiling. This is a strong pose called the Staff Pose. You can place a cushion beneath your hips if you have very tight hamstrings.
Note: I am not a health practitioner, and do not presribe medication or medical advice.
This article is based on my own research into the benefits of natural health practices while trying to conceive at an advanced age.
After hearing, many times, from yoga instructors, that an inverted pose should not be done by menstruating women, I decided to do a bit of research into why.
I had also heard, many times, that while we are inverted, the blood flow is reversed.
Our blood flows in a particular system through our bodies. We have little valves in our arteries that make the flow of blood possible – in one direction. So I decided I would investigate this further.
What I have found is that this theory is a myth, and has been repeated over and over again in the yoga world, despite the fact that is not possible. Well it ispossible – but if our blood were to change direction it would be as a result of a desease, and really not beneficial in any way. (Or we would have to be astronauts, in zero gravity…)
Think about it – our blood doesn’t change direction when we lie on our right side to sleep, and then change direction when we lie on the left, does it?
So, our blood does not suddenly change direction when we are in an inverted pose either.
Neither does an inverted pose have any affect on the menstruation process. While experiencing her monthly period, a woman is shedding layers of mucus membranes and excess blood. Doing a few inverted yoga poses is certainly not going to alter that, or hinder it, any way.
So, the conclusion is: carry on doing these poses even while menstruating!