Are you making these mistakes with your yoga practice while you're TTC?
I’ve been a fertility yoga teacher for over 7 years and teaching yoga for 17 years. I’ve worked with hundreds of people who are looking for ways to overcome fertility obstacles and boost their fertility naturally. Here are the top 5 mistakes people make with their yoga practice when they are TTC that I see over and over again.
If you are trying to conceive, doing fertility treatment, or already have a yoga asana practice – read on so you won’t fall into these common pitfalls.
#1: Not putting your hot/power yoga practice on pause while you're TTC
There is a time and a place for hot power yoga – but when you’re trying to conceive is not one of those times – especially if you’re doing fertility treatment. I have a whole blog post on this here if you want to understand why and see what the research says.
Yes – these intense physical practices can resolve an active stress response and can be beneficial to your mental health, but if your goal is conception, switching your mindset of how you practice yoga is imperative.
Many of my students use hot and/or power yoga as their form of exercise. I totally understand this and did this for years myself. But when I was going through my fertility challenges and treatments, I had to change my mindset. I had to change my intention for coming to the mat. Now I was coming to the mat to boost my fertility, regulate my nervous system, and make sense of my infertility. Not coming to the mat for my workout.
If you’re trying to conceive – moderation and balance is the name of the game.
Spending more time in the parasympathetic response can help to balance stress and reproductive hormones. It is in parasympathetic response that our reproductive system gets a green light because our stress hormones decline.
Parasympathetic is attained when we practice the softer sides of yoga – restorative, slow flow, yoga nidra, gentle flow, and of course fertility yoga.
I encourage you to read the more in depth blog post about this: Is hot yoga bad for fertility? It will outline more what happens to your body during hot yoga and why it is not supportive to fertility.
#2: Giving up your physical yoga practice completely
On the flip side of pushing yourself too physically, there is the other extreme, which is the tendency for some to stop yoga altogether while doing fertility treatment or when trying to conceive.
Sometimes it is based on the advice of well intentioned nurses or doctors who don’t quite understand the nuances of yoga and the different approaches to practicing. I love how fertility yoga is an amazing companion for IVF, being in sync with your cycles and what is happening in your body, as well as offering gentle movement that boosts blood flow in the right areas of the body.
I also see a backing away from exercise when people are doing fertility treatment and are timid to move their bodies because they don’t want to ‘mess things up’ or ‘dislodge’ an embryo. Always follow the advice of your doctor, but almost all doctors I have worked with recommend light exercise during the two week wait.
Also, for many it is a mental/emotional reaction. A way of playing it safe because of past pregnancy losses and never wanting to experience this profound sadness again. I completely understand that.
However, with the right practice and a knowledgeable teacher you can actually increase your chances of a successful cycle and continue practicing throughout your fertility treatment as well as in the early stages of pregnancy.
Finding a teacher who understands the changes of the menstruating body and how the body cycles during different fertility treatments (IVF, IUI, Stim cycle etc) is imperative and can transform yoga into a boosting and supportive addition to your fertility treatment.
#3: Not syncing your cycle with your yoga practice
When women start trying to conceive, there usually is a new desire to understand their menstrual cycles. Something that for many has been deemed a nuisance or controlled for years with hormones. When we start to journal, track, and understand our bodies and energy during the menstrual cycle – we can begin to work with our natural tendencies instead of against them.
I talk about this a bit my other blog post – Increasing feminine energy – but the gist is that we live in a masculine dominated society. Our bodies are constantly trying to adapt to a 24 hour cycle which is highly masculine, instead of the 28 day cycle. This means, we start to believe that we don’t fluctuate throughout the month – yet we TOTALLY do!
Every stage of the cycle has its own energy and can influence you physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Once you understand the cycles, you can start to adapt your yoga practice to your cycle – which also includes stim cycles and FET cycles.
#4: Expecting immediate and miraculous results after one fertility yoga class
Let’s take a moment to talk about expectations. I am not going to be one of those teachers that tells you to drop all expectations. This advice is not realistic, nor is it yogic. Expectations are what gets us out of bed in the morning, keeps us going, and moves us forward. Way down the line, your expectation of doing fertility yoga is that it will help you get pregnant. And that is totally ok, because studies support this!
However, the research supports a yoga practice that is consistent and fertility-focused. Which means, come to more than a couple classes, give it time to work it’s magic. Changes at this deep a level do not happen overnight.
A good fertility yoga class should be a companion to your fertility journey and like a good companion, it stays with you through the ups and downs of your experiences. It is not something to do only when you are anxious, stressed, or in the middle of fertility treatment. Nor is it something to do only when you are feeling good and energetic. It is a practice that can shift with your body, emotions, and energy AND can be practiced at any time.
Your yoga practice shifts to meet you and your body where it is at that moment – not the other way around.
One of the most amazing things about a prolonged fertility yoga practice is that it can truly provide clarity to your experiences and increase your quality of life. It provides the framework for living a joyful life while also trying to conceive.
#5: Trying to figure out yourself how to modify an existing yoga practice while trying to conceive
You are already doing so much for your fertility. Some of those things someone else can’t do for you.
It takes a huge mental & emotional load to do IVF cycles and boost your fertility through lifestyle changes. There is no need to add figuring out how to safely and effectively adapt your yoga practice. This will add more stress and more things to learn.
Instead, let someone take care of you – someone who understands the toll infertility and fertility treatments takes on all aspects of your life.
No second guessing poses and whether they are safe or boosting to your fertility.
This is something that I have spent years studying and researching, as well as honing my skills and building a wonderful community of support.
I hope that you will take the leap and allow me to support you with yoga while you’re trying to conceive.