Utilizing Yoga + Your Faith to Guide You
Through Your Fertility Journey
It’s easy to take fertility for granted… until you’re ready to start a family and discover that getting pregnant isn’t always easy. For one out of eight couples in the United States, conception can take a year or longer, and the journey can be a stressful one. Infertility often puts a strain on the marriage, as well as the mental health and spirituality of both partners.
The good news is yoga can support your efforts to conceive while a strong foundation in faith can help you maintain a positive mental outlook. Let’s look at how yoga and your faith can work together to guide you through your fertility journey.
How Yoga Can Support Your Efforts to Conceive
Yoga does amazing things for the body and mind. Of course, it’s an excellent way to improve your overall strength, flexibility, and fitness. But even more than that, it improves your mindfulness and helps you manage tension and anxiety in a healthy way.
Here’s a deeper look at how yoga can support your efforts to conceive:
Manage Stress and Anxiety
You probably started your fertility journey thinking it would only take a few months to get pregnant. But as the months have gone by without a positive pregnancy test, you’ve likely become anxious, stressed out, and possibly even depressed.
And, of course, you still have all your previous stressors to deal with, too. From your job and relationships to bills and current events, our modern lifestyle is full of daily stress. Tossing fertility issues into the mix can take your stress level through the roof.
The thing is stress is a major hurdle in the journey to conception. It creates a series of reactions within the body that throw your hormones out of balance and can wreak havoc on your reproductive cycles, not to mention your immune health, energy levels, and sleep patterns.
When you’re trying to conceive, managing your stress is super important. Yoga is incredibly beneficial for managing stress because mindfulness and breathing exercises calm the parasympathetic nervous system. The effects can lower blood pressure, reduce the level of stress hormones in your system, and help bring other hormones back into balance.
Attending a YogaFaith class or event, joining a fertility support group, or attending women’s bible study and support groups at your church can also be extremely beneficial for creating a network of supportive women who are going through a similar situation. Having that sense of support, community, and connection is invaluable for your emotional health, especially in such a time of highs and lows.
Support Endocrine Health
The endocrine system is a network of glands that produce a variety of hormones, including thyroid, adrenal, and reproductive hormones. When one part of this network isn’t functioning at its best, the rest of the system can’t function optimally, either. This results in hormonal imbalances and fertility issues.
Hormone balance not only affects your ability to conceive but also your ability to carry a pregnancy to term. Because yoga lowers the level of stress hormone in the body, it results in a healthier, more balanced endocrine system overall. In fact, the seven chakras of yoga each line up with an endocrine gland. Many popular yoga poses influence the endocrine system and help maintain healthy hormone levels.
Tune in to Your Body
Most of us spend a lot of time behind a screen, stuck in our heads, giving very little thought to physical nourishment. The result is a major disconnect between the mind and body. We simply don’t notice the subtle cues our body is giving us to tell us what it needs… such as sleep, sunshine, fresh air, and healthy food.
When you are struggling to conceive, this sense of disconnect can become even stronger. It’s normal to feel like your body is betraying you by not allowing you to have a child. Tuning into your body through regular yoga practice is extremely beneficial for rebuilding and strengthening the mind/body connection.
During a yoga class, when you focus on the poses and breathing, you will begin to tune into your body’s signals and rhythms once again. Building this connection is an essential part of your fertility journey.
During YogaFaith as you practice the Postures of Prayer, you not only connect with the breath, mind and body, but ultimately with Christ and communion with Him.
Improved Emotional Resilience
Yoga class provides a safe place to process difficult emotions and strengthen emotional resilience. Often, we must hold a challenging pose longer than is comfortable, but we learn to acknowledge that this is only a temporary state. This is such a valuable lesson during your fertility journey, and it will also benefit you in other times of discomfort, such as labor and delivery.
And even more than that, many practitioners report an emotional release during certain poses when the connection between their mind and body is especially strong. This openness and release of built-up emotion can help process the emotional highs and lows of infertility, as well as opening our minds to future possibilities.
Better Blood Flow and Circulation
Proper circulation and blood flow to the ovaries and uterus are vital for fertility. Sitting behind a desk all day can restrict circulation to these areas. We often hold tension in the pelvic area, too.
Yoga is wonderful for boosting blood flow in the reproductive region and opening the hips. This brings oxygen and other important nutrients to the uterus and ovaries and could boost fertility and help balance reproductive cycles.
How Faith Can Help You Maintain a Positive Outlook
As the months go by without a positive pregnancy test, it’s perfectly normal to feel discouraged and maybe even betrayed by God. You look at your flat stomach in the mirror and wonder why you’re being denied your greatest wish. It’s no surprise if you’re questioning your faith!
You must remind yourself that you’re not the one in charge. Instead of losing trust in God, rely on Him for healing and strength. Put your trust in Him because only he can grant miracles. Finding reasons to be grateful for Him and the little things He does in your life will help you maintain a positive outlook throughout your journey.
Remember that He has a plan, and He has your best interests at heart, even if you can’t see it. Acknowledge that His timing is best and put your trust in Him. That’s when you’ll receive the most important gift of all… His love.
Finding your joy in Him rather than dwelling on your unfulfilled desires will help you find peace and maintain a positive outlook throughout your journey. While you’re waiting to be blessed with your heart’s desire, you will be full of His love and strength.
Written by Nicole McCray for YogaFaith