Yoga might boost your fertility. Yes! You read that right. The current era of changing lifestyle trends and decreased physical activity might also affect your fertility. So how do you manage your fertility and increase your chances of conception? Try yoga.
Although fertility yoga does not guarantee positive conception results, it might increase your chances of getting pregnant (1). Read on to understand how fertility yoga can help with getting pregnant and a few yoga asanas that you might try for the same.
What Is Fertility Yoga?
Fertility yoga is a series of yoga poses that are believed to reduce your stress levels and detoxify your body. These poses focus on the pelvic region and blood circulation. They stimulate blood flow to the uterus, hips, abdominal organs, and heart. They strengthen the body and might improve the chances of conception (2).
How Yoga Might Boost Your Fertility
Although there is no direct cause and effect relation between yoga and fertility, it might help you in directly. There is no scientific proof to show that yoga helps overcome infertility issues. But according to yoga experts, here is how it is believed to boost fertility:
- Improve the flow of blood to the lower abdominal region, thereby stimulating the reproductive system.
- More blood flow means more nutrient and oxygen supply to the reproductive organs. This way, constricted vessels are relieved, easing the flow of blood to the pelvic region.
- Regulate the endocrine system that releases various hormones, including the female hormones.
- Reduce the production of adrenaline and cortical hormones responsible for stress (3), which is the primary reason for infertility.
Yoga alone cannot solve your fertility issues. If you are having a problem conceiving, then you need to see a doctor. They will recommend appropriate treatment. You may try yoga along with medical methods.
16 Fertility Yoga Poses That Could Support Your Fertility
Here is a combination of breathing exercises (pranayama) and physical postures (asanas) that could improve your reproductive health (2) (4). These asanas should be performed only under expert supervision and under safe workout conditions. Also, talk to your doctor before taking these up.
1. Bhramari Pranayama (Bee Breath)
Calms the nerves that are around the brain and forehead. The humming vibrations would provide relief from stress, anger, and anxiety.
How to do:
- Sit comfortably in a well-ventilated area, with your eyes closed.
- Close your ear lids with your thumbs.
- Place your index finger above your eyebrows.
- Apply gentle pressure on the sides of your nose with your other fingers.
- Breathe in and breathe out. Gently press the ear lids as you make the humming sound like a bee.
- Make the sound for as long as you are comfortable and repeat.
- Do not practice in case of severe ear infection, or in a sleeping position.
- Just put your thumb on the cartilage but not inside the ear.
- Close your mouth while making the humming sound.
- Avoid putting pressure on your face.
2. Nadi Shodhan pranayama (Alternate nostril breathing)
Balances your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and helps remove stress, depression, and negative emotions.
How to do:
- Sit in a comfortable position with your spine erect.
- Place your right ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, and thumb on the right nostril.
- Use your ring and little fingers to open/close the left nostril, and thumb for the right nostril.
- Inhale from the left nostril and exhale from the right nostril.
- Next, inhale from the right nostril and exhale from the left nostril.
- Repeat as long as you are comfortable.
- Finally, relax and open your eyes.
- Do not practice if you have undergone surgeries related to heart, abdomen, or brain.
- Avoid doing it after having food. There should be a gap of four hours after you eat.
- Do not force the breathing and keep it natural and gentle.
- Do not put any pressure on the forehead and nose, instead place the fingers gently.
3. Paschimottanasana (Seated forward bend)
Stretches the lower back, hips, and hamstrings. Stimulates the uterus and ovaries, and relieves stress and depression.
How to do:
- Sit on the floor with your legs stretched.
- Rest your hands on the thighs.
- As you inhale, stretch your arms straight and raise them over your head.
- As you exhale, keep your back straight and gradually bend forward as much as you can, and hold your toes.
- Bring your head forward to touch your knees.
- Count five numbers while you hold your breath in this position.
- Get back to the original position by bringing your body upright and placing hands on your thighs.
- Do not practice if you have abdominal ulcers, asthma, diarrhea, sciatica, or slipped disc conditions.
- While bending forward, take the help of lower back muscles but not the spine muscles.
- As you reach the toes, expand the arms from the shoulders but do not force yourself to reach the toes.
4. Hastapadasana (Standing forward bend)
Stretches the back muscles, thereby improving the blood supply to the nervous system and pelvic region. Releases stress from the abdominal region and stretches the spine muscles.
How to do:
- Stand straight with your legs close to each other.
- Take a deep breath, and on inhalation, raise your hands over the head.
- On exhalation, bend your body forward such that your back stretches as much as possible.
- Try to reach the ankle with your hand while keeping the knees straight.
- Hold this position for a few seconds.
- Inhale and gradually get back to the straight position.
- Do not practice if you have any lower back injuries, cervical pain, spondylitis, spinal, or back problems.
- Avoid practicing it during the menstrual period.
5. Janu Shirshasana (One-legged forward bend)
It makes the spine flexible, relieves tension from the lower back, tones abdominal organs and stretches hamstrings and calves.
How to do:
- Sit down with your right leg stretched forward.
- Bend your left knee, and bring the heel as close as possible to the groin.
- Place the sole of the left foot to the inside of right leg’s inner thigh.
- On inhalation, raise both the arms above the head and stretch up. Twist a little to the right from your waist.
- On exhalation, bend forward with your spine straight and try to hold the toes of the right foot.
- Relax your back, and do not overstretch your body. Remain in this position as long as possible until you are comfortable.
- Return to the original position by lifting the head and releasing the hands.
- Repeat on the other side by interchanging the position of the legs.
- Do not practice if you have asthma, diarrhea, hernia, or any knee injury.
- Avoid practicing during the menstrual period.
6. Baddha Konasana (Butterfly pose)
It is known to be one of the best hip openers as it significantly stretches your groin, inner thighs, and knees. It could, thereby, increase the blood flow to the pelvic region and release negative energy and toxins from these regions.
How to do:
- Sit with your legs straight.
- Bend your knees so that the soles of your feet touch each other.
- Pull the feet as close as possible by holding the toes with your hands.
- Breathe normally and flap your knees and thighs just like a butterfly flaps its wings.
- Slowly increase and decrease the speed, and you could feel a stretch in the pelvic region and inner thighs.
- Return to the original position by keeping your legs straight.
- Avoid the pose in case of knee or groin injury.
- Avoid if you are having high blood pressure or cardiac problems.
7. Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall pose)
This pose relieves tension from the lower part of the body by improving the flow of blood to the pelvic region. It stretches the hamstrings and lower back, thus enhancing the chances of conception.
How to do:
- Lie on the floor and stretch your back and legs straight.
- Gradually raise your legs to 90 degrees, and hold them straight against the wall.
- Breathe as you remain in this pose.
- Repeat the posture for 5 to 8 times.
- Do not practice during the menstrual period or if you have high blood pressure.
- Avoid the pose in the case of any severe eye problems such as glaucoma.
- If the neck is hurting, put a rolled-up blanket or pillow under your head.
8. Balasana (Child’s pose)
Calms the brain, and relieves stress and fatigue. Stretches and strengthens the muscles of your back, hips, thighs, and ankles. Also, it stretches the pelvic region and improves the flow of blood.
How to do:
- Kneel on the floor, and sit on your heels with your toes touching each other.
- Keep your knees hip-width apart, and slowly bend forward.
- Stretch your arms forward with palms facing downwards.
- Remain in this position as long as you feel comfortable.
- Do not practice if you have any knee or back injury.
- Avoid the pose if you are suffering from diarrhea, high blood pressure, ear or eye infections.
- If you are uncomfortable placing your head over the floor, use a cushion for support.
9. Salamba Sirshasana (Supported headstand)
This is one of the most challenging yoga poses. While the body is inverted, it eases the pressure in the heart. While your head balances your whole body, the brain is stimulated and releases more hormones. It needs intense concentration and could be beneficial for fertility.
However, this can be only done if you are an expert in it or under an expert’s supervision.
How to do:
- Begin with your head resting on a cushion or a soft mattress.
- Put your hands together with your forearms on the floor and your head between your fingers.
- As you inhale, come up against the floor by moving your feet closer to the head, heels upwards and shoulder blades down towards your back.
- As you exhale, lift your legs together. Stretch your legs up with toes pointed; do not fold your knees or the back.
- Remain in this position for ten seconds or for as long as you are comfortable.
- Get back to the normal position by curling your legs down and releasing into a Child’s pose.
- Do not practice the pose if you have cardiac, blood pressure, kidney, neck, or eye-related problems.
- Never practice this pose immediately after performing a range of intense exercises as such workouts will release toxins from the body that could move to the brain.
- Avoid while you have the menstrual period.
- Stop the asana if you begin to experience headache, dizziness, or heart palpitations.
- Do not do it immediately after having a meal.
- If you have not practiced enough, ask your trainer to be around, and also cushion up the area around you.
10. Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported shoulder stand)
Similar to the supported headstand, this pose balances your body on the shoulders instead of the head. It relaxes the pelvic region and improves blood flow to the uterus. It also stimulates the thyroid gland.
This, too, needs expert supervision.
How to do:
- Lie on your back and gently push your legs up and over your head.
- Bend your elbows and move your palms towards the lower back.
- Continue pushing your legs up in the air so that your shoulders, hips, knees, and heels fall in a straight line.
- Support your back with your hands to elevate the hip region.
- Slightly lift your chin so that you gaze towards the navel.
- Do not perform the pose if you have a headache, high blood pressure, diarrhea, neck injury, or menstrual problems.
- Use a cushion or folded blankets beneath the neck to prevent muscle strain.
- Avoid practicing it during the menstrual period
11. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
This asana requires you to lift your pelvic region. It enables a better flow of blood and energy to the ovaries and uterus and helps stimulate the thyroid gland.
How to do:
- Lie down on a mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor such that the knees and ankles are in a straight line.
- Place your hands flat at your sides.
- While inhaling, lift your hips and back off the floor.
- Support your weight on your shoulders, arms, and feet.
- Let your chin touch the chest.
- Tighten the buttocks and keep your thighs parallel to the floor.
- Remain in this pose as long as you are comfortable while breathing slowly.
- Release the pose while exhaling.
- Do not practice the pose if you are having knee pain, backache, or any back injury.
- Do not move or tilt your head towards right or left.
- Avoid in case of a shoulder injury, or neck pain.
12. Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
Stretches your back, and opens up the chest area, thereby improving the flow of blood to the pelvic region. Stimulates uterus and ovaries, and offers relief from stress and anxiety.
How to do:
- Lie on your tummy with legs close to each other and hands on the sides.
- Lift your upper body slowly by putting the pressure of your hands. Stretch back as much as you can.
- Remain in this pose for around 30 seconds as you breathe in and out.
- Get back to the normal position by exhaling slowly.
- Do not practice the pose if you have any injury in shoulders or arms.
- Avoid full-forward bending if you have a lower back problem.
- Also, avoid if you are suffering from a hernia, peptic ulcers, hypothyroidism, or intestinal tuberculosis.
13. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining bound angle)
Stretches and relaxes the pelvic region, and improves blood flow to the reproductive organs. Stimulates nervous system and relieves stress.
How to do:
- Lie down on the floor with your back straight.
- Bring your hands above your head and place the palms touching each other and facing upwards.
- Bend the knees with the soles touching each other, face-to-face, to make a butterfly wing.
- Remain in this position for around five minutes, and slowly get back to the original position.
- Do not practice this pose if you have pain or injury in the lower back, knee, or groin.
- Avoid it if you are menstruating.
- Use a blanket for support beneath the outer thighs.
14. Malasana (Squat or Garland pose)
Opens up the hips, and stimulates your metabolism. Tones the pelvic floor and could give a boost to your sex life.
How to do:
- Make a comfortable squat position with legs wider than the hip distance.
- Your knees and the feet should point in the same direction.
- If your heels cannot go flat against the floor, use small rolled-up towels or cushions beneath them for support.
- With the support of back and core muscles, sit up as straight as possible.
- Bring your palms together and press your elbows against the inner knees.
- Remain in this position for 30 seconds, and slowly get back to normal position.
- Avoid practicing the pose in case of the knee, hip, or lower back problems.
- Place a block under the hips for support; it also reduces discomfort or pressure in the knees.
- Place a folded or rolled blanket under the heels if you are unable to keep them straight on the floor.
15. Utkata Konasana (The Goddess pose)
Strengthens your hips, groin, and core muscles. Improves energy flow into the hip and pelvic areas, thereby stimulating the reproductive organs.
How to do:
- Make a wide stance with your legs wider than your hips.
- Keep your heels in, and toes out so that your feet are at 45-degree angle.
- Bend your knees towards your toes and lower into a deep squat.
- Raise your hands up with the palms facing forward.
- Lower your tailbone and remain in this pose for about 30 seconds.
- Do not practice the pose if you had a recent injury to shoulders, legs, or hips.
- Not suitable if you are having hypertension since this pose generates heat in the body.
- While widening the legs, do not go beyond what you can.
16. Shavasana (Corpse pose or Yogic sleep)
Uplifts the state of mind and relieves your stress and anxiety levels. Although it has no impact on your reproductive system, it relaxes and cools you down at the end of the yoga session.
How to do:
- Lie on your back with your hands by your side and legs wider than hip-width.
- Keep your palms facing upwards, and close your eyes.
- Inhale slowly, give a brief pause, and then exhale slowly.
- Stay in this position for three to five minutes and release the position.
- Practice it in a calm atmosphere.
- Do not fall asleep in this pose as it might affect the balance between relaxation and breathing pattern.
Yoga offers numerous health benefits, one of which is improved fertility. Practicing fertility yoga can help by improving your blood flow to your reproductive system, thus stimulating it and aiding in regulating your hormones. However, one simple technique should not be taken as a sure shot measure toward improving fertility. Hence, it would be best to combine regular fertility yoga with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle for a more effective result. In addition, consult your doctor to identify any underlying fertility issues that may require treatment.
2. Pallav Sengupta; Challenge of infertility: How protective the yoga therapy is; Anc Sci Life (2012)
3. Salam Ranabir and K. Reetu; Stress and hormones; Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism
4. Jill Mahrlig Petigara and Lynn Jensen; Yoga and Fertility: A Journey to Health and Healing (book)