Last week, the couple who travels from the suburbs to this part of town just to participate in my Sunday Yoga session called up to announce something special. The husband said “Wife found out she is pregnant just this morning (with obvious joy mixed with a little undertone of anticlimax to his voice) But I am coming for classes from next week and she will too. Can she just do the basic Asanas and not the Intermediate poses that you teach, I really want to continue the classes with you.” After a few words of felicitation on the father- to- be, I requested he does continue and advised that its best if the wife joins a Pregnancy Yoga class which I am yet to start as a teacher.
4 pregnancies within a month!
A week later I received a text message from another female student (a medical doctor) who joyfully announced her sudden conception and informed of her preference to continue Yoga in the regular classes. I had the same response once again. While having a text conversation with this student I realized that in the past month she counted as the 4th student from across the Yoga classes I teach, who conceived. So I asked her candidly, also because she has a clinical knowledge as a medical doctor. – “ Do you think Yoga has something to do with four of my regular students conceiving during the past month?”.
She was gracious enough to reveal that she thought she might have been subfertile, considering she is 36, although there has been no diagnosis until she found out of her conception the previous week.
Academic Research on Yoga & Fertility for females & males
I had to dig up on this unforeseen connection as it fascinated me in many levels. I went back in my teaching notebook to see what Asanas I taught the few months continuously in classes and compared findings of research studies carried out by scholars who tested on control groups of yogis on improved fertility.
In one study carried out by 5 PhD scholars across 5 continents (Darbandi et al, 2017), married couples with infertility issues, who failed to conceive after attempting for one year were tested in an interventional approach with Yoga.
Findings of this study proved that in females, fertility factors included oocyte improvement, ovulation management, healthy serum levels of cortisol, adrenalin, noradrenalin, dopamine, testosterone, LH and AMH hormones; while in males, fertility factors included improvement in sperm count, sperm motility, prostate secretion, decreased sexual dysfunction, Improved intravaginal ejaculation time and improvement in immune system disorders.
In another Literature survey (Sengupta, 2012), findings conclude that Yoga is found to improve sexual activities in both in males & females by improving the overall integration of physiological mechanisms by fine tuning and modulating neuroendocrine axis resulting in advantageous changes. Adding that Yoga mainly improves reproductive functions by reducing stress and balancing the neurohormonal profile. The survey further notes that Yoga improves both female and male fertility by minimizing stress, which consecutively balances the hormones of the body with improvement in mental health; thereby increasing a couple’s ability to conceive. In another Literature study (Kochhar et al, 2017) a compilation of previous research states that Yoga therapies enhance fertility in women and men by increasing energy flow, blood flow and the controlling of stress. Numerous studies are brought to light that find Yoga as boosting function of the reproductive system with specific Asana’s and postures specially targeting the reproductive organs and the pelvic area.
The Asanas and the practices that help conception
After finding out Academic Literature/studies on the stark connection between Yoga and improved fertility, my next question was “What specific Asanas and practices?”
Almost all Hip-Openers, Back Bends and Asanas that involve the action of Kegels (Mula Bandha) are found to be the most powerful Yoga asanas to boost fertility in the practitioner.
And it dawned on me that my syllabus contains month long practices of Yin and Yang Yoga focusing on the below Asanas.
- Standing forward bends (Uttanasana)
- Garland pose (Malasana)
- Reclining bound angle (Supta Baddhakonasana)
- Warrior 1 (Virabadrasana 1)
- Warrior 2 (Virabadrasana 2)
- Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
- Pigeon (Kapottasana)
- Eka Pada Rajakapottasana (One legged King Pigeon)
- Bound Angle (Baddha Konasana)
- Cobra Pose (Bujangasana)
- Child Pose (Balasana)
- Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)
- Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) – (Darbandi et al, 2017)
So there it is. I might lose a student for as long as the infant starts weaning or even longer, but what joy it is as a teacher to see happy families being formed with beautiful and brand-new human beings gifted to this world. My work here is done! ☺
- Darbandi, Mahsa & Sara & Khorram Khorshid, Hamid Reza & Sadeghi, Mohammad. (2017). Yoga Can Improve Assisted Reproduction Technology Outcomes in Couples With Infertility. Alternative therapies in health and medicine. 24.
- Sengupta P. (2012). Challenge of infertility: How protective the yoga therapy is?. Ancient science of life, 32(1), 61–62. doi:10.4103/0257-7941.113796
- Kochhar K. P, Oberaoi A.K, Hazra s, Lal P.R. (2017) The Role of Traditional Diet & Yoga for Fertility: A Blend and Balace of Traditional Knowledge and Modern Medicine. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Volume 16. New Delhi