Stress relief yoga

Relaxing with yoga helps mums’ fertility work at full stretch

Four rounds of IVF had not helped Bec Thornhill Robinson fall pregnant during three heartbreaking years. But then she joined a fertility yoga class and baby Daisy was on the way just a few months later.


Ms Thornhill Robinson, 43, is just one of about 100 mums who have given birth after attending Melinda Rushe’s Yoga For Fertility courses at Manly’s QI Yoga.

Although Ms Rushe said yoga did not help women conceive, there was research to prove it could help women relax which, in turn, boosted fertility.

Ms Thornhill Robinson, a hairdresser from Freshwater, said the classes helped her calm down when she was desperate for a child with husband Dave.

“I do think it was a big factor,” she said. “When you want something so bad, you don’t know how to relax.”

She said it was an “amazing shock” to discover she was pregnant, three months after completing the fourweek course and continuing to use the techniques.

Daisy is now six months old.

She was conceived naturally, Fertility yoga classes will not, of course, help women conceive but experts say they help with the stress of trying for a baby, which, in turn, can increase the chances of success

The classes use hatha yoga despite doctors telling Ms Thornhill Robinson she had endometriosis, which can affect fertility. Ms Rushe, who also struggled to conceive but went on to give birth to twins after becoming a yoga teacher, said she had helped dozens of women. “They’ve got pregnant pretty soon after the end of the course,” she said. “Yoga isn’t going to get you pregnant. “If you are trying to get pregnant and can’t, it’s incredibly stressful. I’m using the techniques to help find some calm amid the chaos. “I use all of the ancient wisdom in this very modernday concept of fertility. “There’s good research that shows if you are less stressed you are more fertile.”

By Sarah Swain, Manly Daily 28.11.15



Be gentle with yourself you are doing the best you can

Next time you say that negative thing to yourself, (you know the type of thing like.. ‘it’s hopeless’, ‘this will never happen’, ‘you deserve this, it’s all your fault’), see if you can catch it. How can you be kind to your friends, your partner, your family and even the baby that is to come if you can’t be kind to yourself? Once you’re aware of how you are speaking then balance some of that negativity out by using your mantra eg. ‘I am doing all I can to welcome our baby to us’. Be kind, be gentle. Remember how wonderful you are. You are doing all you can. You can’t do more. There is something empowering about this.


How do we ‘let go’ and find our fertile self?

How often have you been told ‘go on holiday and relax’ if you want to get pregnant? (Is this possibly the most unhelpful thing anyone can say to someone trying to successfully conceive? I think so!) But as with all sayings there is a nub of truth in there and I think it’s about letting go. But how do you do it? Much easier said than done, but I believe that practicing yoga can help. When we breathe out more than we breathe in, the exhale is all about surrender. It’s a release, a softening, a letting go. We combine this with a mantra like ‘I breathe in calm, I let go’, and it’s this that helps us to start the process. All things take time, and this is no exception. It’s about practicing and keeping at it – once we can do this, being able to let go off of the mat can unfold.


Listen to your body

So much about conquering fear is trust. Trusting that our bodies know what to do. It can be hard can’t it? Often we turn to the medical profession first rather than our own inner wisdom. We may need that external help from doctors, but wouldn’t it be great if we turned inwards first? Then, and only then, if we need extra help we could seek medical advice. If you’re at the beginning of this journey and automatically thinking you might need Assisted Reproductive Therapies to help you, that might be case, but it also might not. See if you can tune in and connect with your own inner healer first and perhaps consider other non invasive therapies (like acupuncture, herbalists, naturopaths etc.) who might be able to assist you.


Having a bad day?

Having one of these today? Cry, scream, shout… just get it out!


Pashimottanasana for fertility

This seated forward bend (pashimottansasana) is a great pose for fertility, particularly for those with PCOS as it helps to balance the hormones in the body. It works on 2 levels: On a physical level it stimulates the ovaries and uterus, and balances the hormones in the endocrine system responsible for fertility. On a psychological level it cools and calms helping to relieve fatigue, anxiety and stress. For those of us with tight hamstrings place a blanket under the knees and a bolster on top of the thighs (if you need further assistance coming forward add a block as well so that your head is fully supported in the pose and you can really relax into it).


Let go of sadness & open your heart

Sadness is an emotion which can be all too familiar on this yo-yo journey to conceive our baby. It’s important to grieve in order to heal, but when we hold on to sadness for too long it can become all consuming and stop us from moving on. So how can yoga help? When we get on the mat, move our bodies and follow our breath it helps us to connect with ourselves which is what we need most when we are healing. Heart opening poses like backbends help us to release tightness in our chest and allows us to feel lighter, happier and calmer.


How do we forgive ourselves?

Forgiveness and acceptance are the keys to letting go. And forgiveness particularly is a big one. It’s important to remind ourselves that we did not make this happen. How many times have I spoken to women who have said, “I’ve had irregular periods for years I should have done something sooner”, I did this ‘thing’ and that’s why I miscarried”, “I partied too hard when I was younger, I took too many drugs”. The thing is so many people do all this and they manage to conceive. This is not your fault. Recognising this is the first step. Then we get on the mat, we move our bodies, we breathe out more than we breathe in. Each time we get distracted we say ‘let it go’. Simple, small steps. We take it one day at a time. It’s a continual process.


Negative behavioural patterns doing IVF

I’m really interested in patterns in behaviour. Particularly the negative patterns that we all hold and may as yet be unaware of. At one point in the middle of doing an IVf cycle I was walking down a really steep hill daily, around a large oval and then back up again.  Nuts! Looking back I know there was a number of things going on. I resented being in the situation that I was in, I blamed myself for my fertility problems, I was punishing myself for stopping work. I have often been hard on myself and these emotions of resentment, blame and guilt manifested again when I had fertility issues. (Interestingly they are also the emotions of the 2nd chakra when it’s out of balance, and the 2nd chakra is related to fertility).  It’s only in retrospect I can see what is going on. Are there things that you are doing that is not additive to the process for successfully conceiving? What patterns do you have in your life that have come to the fore in your current situation.  Is there anything you can do to change these behaviours now that you’re aware of them.  When I think back now, with the benefit of hindsight I should have done the opposite.  Been kind to myself, given myself a break, knowing that I was doing my best.


Find a blessing through the practice

I was chatting to a friend who has been through a lot with fertility treatments. We were talking about how some people take part in much alcohol fuelled partying, drink 4 cups of coffee a day and still manage to pop kids out one after another like smarties. How can this be?  It seems so unfair!

All I can think is that each of us has different paths to travel, and for those of us with fertility issues, this is ours.  We can choose to focus on what we don’t have yet, or we can trust that having put everything in place to have a healthy baby, they are on their way to us.

By doing our practices, breathing deeply from the belly and turning on our rest-and-digest system, by doing our gentle yoga asana poses to move the blood around the reproductive organs, by saying our mantras and affirmations and reminding ourselves to stay present – all these things help to bring our baby to us. It’s from our practice that our belief emerges.  Practice, practice, practice, make it a priority, let these techniques and poses work for you to draw your baby closer.



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    Tel: (02) 9976 6880
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