Bliss Baby Yoga Director and Founder Ana Davis discusses the role of yoga and meditation practices in supporting and enhancing fertility for women who are preparing or trying to conceive. She spoke with Bliss Baby Yoga Fertility and Conscious Conception specialist, Rosie Matheson, who has been working with women to support their fertility for over ten years.
A woman’s hormonal system is her “stress-sensitive” system . Stress can adversely affect the delicate balance of hormones necessary for optimal health and fertility. A woman who is trying to conceive should therefore try to minimise the levels of stress in her life as much as possible, in order to give her body the best chance. However, the irony is infertility causes more stress! According to a famous study by Dr Alice Domar from the Harvard Medical School, the anxiety and depression levels of a woman suffering infertility is on par with someone diagnosed with a terminal disease . This can set off a vicious cycle: the more stressed we become the more this may affect our ability to get pregnant, and then we become even more stressed!
It’s clear then that yoga for fertility needs to focus first and foremost on managing and reducing a woman’s stress levels.  The relaxation and stress management tools of yoga can provide a wonderful antidote to stress – particularly, the right kind of fertility-focused yoga.
Fertility Focused Yoga
In addition to practising relaxation and meditation techniques to calm the mind and nervous system which will help bring a woman’s hormonal system into greater health and balance, yoga for fertility focuses on postures that promote the circulation of blood and energy in the lower abdominal area. One reason is because the stress hormone epinephrine can cause the constriction of the blood vessels in the uterus which may, according to Dr Rahul Sachdev, specialist in Reproductive Endrocrinology and Infertility at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, impede a woman’s fertility.  Yoga for fertility therefore includes postures that create space and softness in the lower belly such as Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Butterfly pose).
Womb and heart centering
Bliss Baby Yoga’s Fertility and Conscious Conception specialist, Rosie Matheson, says that in addition to including poses that bring oxygen, nutrients and healing to the reproductive organs, it’s important that a a woman cultivates a positive connection with her womb. “For me the most astounding and influential part of this practice is found in the relationship between a woman’s heart and her womb,” explains Rosie. “I focus on fostering a camaraderie and connection between women and their wombs. The results I see from this are always relief and trust. When this connection is made women trust their bodies and their journeys, and this ultimately leads to greater fertility.”
Rosie has been working with women to support their fertility for the last ten years and has developed her own unique approach to this beautiful feminine-focused yoga. She recalls the very first woman she worked with had been trying to conceive for almost two years. “When we started she was doing everything right. She had the perfect fertility diet full of helpful nutrition; she did regular gentle exercise; was tracking her ovulation; she had a supportive husband, and had cut back on work and stress,” says Rosie. “The thing that was missing was a connection to her womb. She was so worried each month that her womb would disappoint her yet again that she withheld hope, love or warmth from that part of her body.” This was when Rosie’s beautiful Womb Meditation was born! Her client became pregnant less than two months later. “I have seen this time and again and have been genuinely shocked over the years to see how much of an impact this connection has on a woman’s fertility,” enthuses Rosie.
Rosie’s Womb Meditation
Sit or lie comfortably in a quiet peaceful space. Place your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your lower belly. Take a few moments to connect to your breath and come into the present moment. Begin to feel love from your heart being absorbed in through your left palm. Feel this love travelling up your left arm, across your chest, down your right arm and out through your right palm, filling your belly with warmth and light.
Once you can feel a strong connection between your heart and your womb start to picture what your womb looks like inside. This can be quite accurate to anatomy or more imaginative e.g. a cozy room or a garden. Once you can see this you can begin to prepare the space filling your womb with light. Scan the space and see if there are any areas holding tension or darkness and invite the light to cleanse and release those places. Now begin to add any objects to this space that you feel would make it a more beautiful place for a soul to enter e.g an alter with candles, a garden in full bloom, plush rugs and fine tapestries etc. Holding the vision of this now enhanced space bring your awareness back to the love flowing in from your heart and out through your palm. See it shining in on the space that you have just created.
Finally when you are ready to come back, bring your awareness back to your heart and offer yourself some of your own shining love. Become more aware of your breath, letting it deepen. Then when you’re ready gently open your eyes. After the first time you do this meditation it can be done as often and as quickly as you like. You can do it for 1 min or 30 mins each night before bed or in any quiet moments you have. This allows you to continue to strengthen the connection between your heart and your womb and creates a welcoming space in which to invite in a new soul.
 “..the menstrual cycle is the stress sensitive system in women. So think of menstrual symptoms as an early warning sign for your overall health.” – Alexandra Pope, “The Wild Genie”, p. 144
 Here’s a synopsis of this study by Dr Alice Domar: http://www.mindbodyinfertility.com/supporting-research.html#group
 Research by Dr Alice Domar points to the potential efficacy of mind-body stress management techniques, which include yoga, as being beneficial for fertility: http://www.mindbodyinfertility.com/supporting-research.html
 Cited by Judith Hanson Lasater in her article in the Yoga Journal, “When you want to have a baby .. But Can’t” – http://www.yogajournal.com/article/lifestyle/when-you-want-to-have-a-baby-but-can-t/
ANA DAVIS is the Director and Founder of Bliss Baby Yoga, and is the lead teacher on our Online Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga Teacher Training Course and Online L1 & L2 Restorative Yoga Teacher Training courses, and co-teacher of our Online L1 Yoga for Fertility Teacher Training course. Ana has also shared a number of Online Yoga Classes for pregnancy and the postpartum period, and offers One-on-One Online Mentoring sessions and Personalised Online Yoga Classes. Ana released her first book ‘Moving with the Moon – Yoga, Movement and Meditation for Every Phase of Your Menstrual Cycle and Beyond‘ in late 2018 – available as a print-book or E-book.
ROSIE MATHESON is a Senior Bliss Baby Yoga Course Facilitator for our Online Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga Teacher Training Course and Online L1 Restorative Yoga Teacher Training Course, and a co-contributor to our Level 1 Online Yoga for Fertility Teacher Training. Rosie also offers one-on-one online mentoring to support you in your teaching, or to support you in your journey to becoming a mother.
Our Bliss Baby Yoga Online L1 Yoga for Fertility Teacher Training course and Supporting IVF with Fertility Yoga Online Module include some beautiful sample breathing, relaxation, meditation and visualisation practices for fertility, as well as illustrated sample fertility yoga sequences.