Yoga, a practice of mind-body awareness and integration, is praised for its stress-relieving and natural healing benefits. In recent years, yoga has come to be accepted by many doctors as an ideal form of exercise and relaxation for women during pregnancy. Doctors and fertility specialists are now recommending yoga to women but also men trying to become pregnant or even struggling with infertility. Though studies using scientific methods to prove the effects of yoga on fertility are somewhat limited, for yoga devotees it is no surprise that yoga may create positive results for women trying to conceive.
Yoga can improve fertility in men
A recent study showed that sperm parameters in men with unexplained infertility did improve with yoga.
Benefits of yoga for infertile couples
In addition to the physical and financial requirements that many infertility treatments, like in-vitro fertilization (IVF), impose, negative emotional effects, and stress are very common amongst women and couples trying to conceive with these methods after being deemed “infertile.” Unfortunately, the stress they experience may create an additional barrier to getting pregnant. Stress can interfere with the balance of hormones in the body, including those hormones related to fertility. The psychological stress of infertility can be so great that a study undergone in 1993 and published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, showed that is similar to the stress of coping with certain chronic disease and illness.
While many doctors do not doubt that stress can cause infertility, it has yet to be proven that relieving stress can lead to fertility (reverse the negative affects). However, studies that test the effects of stress-relieving activities, such as yoga, on infertile couples, are finding positive results. For some women, reducing stress can and does lead to pregnancy. Though the exact science linking stress and infertility has yet to be pinpointed, some doctors believe that hormones released during stressful periods may play an inhibiting role.
By contrast to fertility treatments, yoga offers the practitioner a time to explore all of the positive ways that her body serves her, rather than the ways in which it appears to be “failing.” Yoga is not a treatment and does not require that something needs to be fixed in order to do it. Instead, it is a practice of mind-body exploration and union, which supports the body in the biological tasks that it instinctually knows how to do.