Yoga Poses for Fertility

Reclining twist over a bolster to release stress

Twists are wonderful for fertility. They allow us to squeeze the internal organs, releasing toxins and stress – but it’s the release where the magic happens. The fresh oxygenated blood flows into the repro organs, releasing tension and balancing hormones. I love doing them over a bolster, particularly if you’re in the stimulation phase of an IVF cycle. This is a gentle way to get all the benefits without putting pressure on the tum. When you’re in the pose you will feel the intercostal muscles (the little muscles between the ribs) stretch and gently open allowing us to get more oxygen in and breathe a little deeper.


Best yoga pose for fertility is Viparita Karani

If you only have time to do one daily yoga pose for fertility – make this it. (Great for partners too). Legs up the wall (viparita karani). If you’re stressed, tired and finding it hard to sleep this pose revitalises the body and supports it to let go and relax. It calms the nervous system and turns on our rest & digest response (our parasympathetic nervous system), so vital to help us find calm. Gentle inversions like this also help to energise the body. So if you’re feeling down and could do with a bit more ‘mo’ in your ‘mo-jo’, try this pose. (*Important reminder. Once you are pregnant, do not do this pose, particularly if you’re prone to miscarriage).


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).


Shoulderstand fertility. How turning upside down can help make us more fertile

Shoulder-stand is often talked about when you google ‘poses for fertility’.  I love this pose but for those newer to yoga I wouldn’t recommend you practice it without supervision.  If you already have some experience a good option is to practice against the wall.  Take your time getting into the pose.  Once you’re there keep the head and neck still, close the eyes and breathe through the nose for 8 slow breaths.

There are loads of great benefits to practicing supported shoulder-stand; like helping to turn off the adrenal glands, calm the mind and relieve mild depression.  Most importantly it helps to balance our hormones particularly the pituitary gland – the master controller of all our glands.  The pituitary secretes its own hormones and hormones from the thyroid, stress hormones and the ovaries and testis.  In terms of our fertility it allows the brain to speak to the ovaries to secrete hormones FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Luteinizing Hormone) which we need to create good eggs.  In yoga we believe that when you have your head lower than your heart you flush your pituitary gland with fresh oxygenated blood helping to regulate it.  Supported shoulder-stand is one good way to achieve this.


bhramari pranayama ‘bee breath’ benefits to calm the mind

Sometimes what we say to ourselves around our fertility can be so harsh.  I am so guilty of this.  If you had a friend that said half the things you say to yourself you probably wouldn’t be friends with them any more.  When my mind feels negative and I feel like I’m in a loop which I can’t get out of I practice ‘bhramari’ (in sanscrit it means ‘black bee’) breath.  It’s an ancient yogic technique which helps to calm the mind a clear the thoughts, and it’s really easy to do.

Stick your first finger in your ears and place the rest of the fingers on your head. Close your eyes.  Hum to the end of the breath and as you do this see if you can make the spot in the centre of your forehead reverberate (this is a relaxation spot we all have).  Move your tongue around your mouth as you hum to find the best spot. Do 8 rounds slowly, and try to keep the breath nice and even, no straining, and the spine long.  When you finish relax the hands on your lap and feel the effects of the practice.

It always makes me feel calmer and my mind feels wonderfully still.  How does it make you feel?


Best yoga pose for anger

If you can’t be kind to yourself, then try and be gentle. If you’re angry with the situation that you’re in and you’re unable to forgive the past, it’s ok. Just noticing that you are angry is a form of kindness.  When you are ready, maybe you can speak to someone about how you are feeling – a good friend or therapist. When we talk about how we are feeling this often helps to start healing. What you say to yourself now and your thoughts and feelings will not be like this forever.  Remember everything is a process. This too will pass.

There are some great yoga poses to get anger out of the body like wood chopper pose.  The most powerful part of the pose is to visualise what you want to get rid of that’s making you angry.  It might simply be ‘everything’.  (Sometimes there are so many things that just mentioning one isn’t nearly cathartic enough.  Actually, it does’t matter what it is, it’s the release that’s the important bit). Stand with your feet mat distance apart, straighten your arms and hold your hands together as if you are holding onto an axe.  Tuck your chin in and exhale.  Inhale, raise your arms above your head and open up your throat.  As you exhale sweep your arms down and through your legs, and at the same time make a loud ‘haaa’ noise from your belly.  Come up half way and sweep your arms through your legs again with a loud ‘haaa’ sound.  Do this one more time then come to stand.  Breathe and feel the effects of the practice.  Do this 3 times and notice if you feel calmer.  It’s a great one to do if you’ve had a bad day.  Get rid of the tension in the body, don’t let it sit there.  Get it out to feel calmer and happier.


Geeta Iyengar’s best fertility yoga pose

Geeta Iyengar, the daughter of one of the fathers of yoga BKS Iyengar, has a strong focus on yoga for women. She believes this pose (bound angle pose) is a “blessing for women”. It helps to soften and open the hips, stimulates the abdominals and increases circulation in the pelvis. It helps the ovaries to function properly and balances menstruation. To make it more comfortable sit up on a blanket so that your hips are higher than your knees. Stay breathing through the nose for 6 slow breaths.


If you’re interested in reading more about Geeta and her approach to women’s yoga read ‘Yoga – a Gem for Women’ by Geeta Iyengar.


Best yoga pose for fertility

Another wonderful pose for fertility – cobra pose. It helps to tone the ovaries and uterus and regulate menstrual problems. If you’re feeling low and need a boost do this pose. As you raise your torso you squeeze into your adrenal glands which helps to calm the whole system and turn off your stress hormones.


Heated yoga and pregnancy. Is it helpful?

At one point I was teaching hot yoga as well as normal hatha yoga.  I was teaching about 7 classes a week in this hot room (28 degrees, so not bikram hot, but hot enough).  I had a great mentor who was working in this particular studio and I was keen to learn from him.  When they offered me classes to teach I jumped at the chance.  There is no doubt that teaching a dynamic practice keeps you fit.  You sweat and work hard and you come out feeling the rush of endorphins like you’ve really worked out (this really is a sort of gym yoga, for those that don’t want to go to the gym but still want to sweat).  But is this type of practice conducive for getting pregnant?

I’m often asked if it’s OK to do strenuous exercise when you’re trying to conceive eg. dynamic or hot yoga, gym sessions, running etc. My advice would be not to. Stick to all things gentle – yoga, walking, swimming are all great. We are trying to cool the body, calm it down and soften the belly (think of that beautiful round moon, the ultimate feminine energy). It’s about getting the flow going, the breath relaxed, the blood circulating – not practices that heat the body, tighten or strengthen.

When I finally realised that although it might be working on one level (ie. keeping me very fit), it wasn’t good for successfully conceiving.  I changed so many things in my life, it’s hard for me to say what it was that made it possible for us to have our twins.  All I can say is that when I finally did give up my heated classes I fell pregnant.  Who knows if that was it, but one thing is for certain I’m sure giving up the heated practice helped.


Mahamudra and male infertility

What is good yoga pose to boost sperm quality? Try Mahamudra. It’s a tantric practice which is easy for both beginners and more advanced yogis. Sit on the floor with right leg out straight in front. Bend the left knee and place the heel of the left foot into the perineum. From the hips bend forward with a straight spine over the extended leg and place hands on the floor either side of the leg (or if you can grab the foot). Breathe through the nose slowly, 6 times, then change sides. The gentle compression of the foot in the groin brings fresh blood and prana to the reproductive organs and helps to improve sperm mobility and motility.



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