Posted: Apr 19, 2012 5:00 PM
When trying to conceive, maintaining both physical and mental health is key. And you can get both from yoga. Whether you're a yogi or have never so much as rolled out a yoga mat, there's a class for you when you're trying to conceive. Read on for five reasons to add the words, "downward dog" to your vocabulary and your routine.

1. It gives you focus

Yoga is about much more than just stretching your body into the shape of a pretzel. According to Tamara Quinn, Elisabeth Heller and Jeanie Lee Bussell, the authors of Fully Fertile, "The postures in yoga exist to preoccupy and heal our bodies so that our mind and spirit can move deeper into the more powerful techniques of breathing, changing our attitudes or learning to meditate." Quinn, Heller and Bussell add, "The goal of yoga is not physical fitness, it is peace and clarity."

The goal of yoga is not physical fitness, it is peace and clarity

2. It reduces stress

If you're trying to conceive, we already know you're stressed out. So we probably don't need to point out that stress and TTC are like oil and water. So how can yoga help you? The authors of Fully Fertile believe that yoga makes us aware of the ways in which we create, store and perpetuate stress and tension in our bodies. "Learning to breathe properly is also key in minimizing tension," according to Quinn, Heller and Bussell. "The breath is believed to bring prana, or life-energy, into the body and a body that is full of energy is more hospitable to new life."

3. It helps you sleep

Getting your Zs is uber-important for your body and your mind when you're trying to have a baby. Experts agree that most people need a minimum of seven to eight hours a night. But if you're like many women who are TTC, once you get in bed, your mind starts racing and you can't stop thinking about your latest negative pregnancy test. Kimberly Fowler, author of The No OM Zone, says doing yoga before you sleep can help you relax and de-stress and recommends trying the child's pose and the corpse pose. Also, many experts agree that meditating before bed (even for as few as five minutes) and paying particular attention to your breathing can put you in a more relaxed state of mined. Tip: If the word meditation turns you off, you don't have to light candles and chant. Simply sitting in a comfortable position with your eyes closed will do the trick.

4. It increases blood flow to reproductive organs

Many experts believe that yoga improves fertility because it increases blood flow to the reproductive organs including the uterus, ovaries in women and the testes in men. The authors of Fully Fertile cite an exercise they call the "hip opener" as being particularly important. When women practice this posture, they strengthen the muscles of the pelvis, allowing for improved blood flow and nerve signal conductivity to the pelvic area.

5. Why not?

At the very least, it will put you in a better frame of mind to tackle the disappointment and stress you could be feeling. And who knows, you might just get hooked?

More about trying to conceive

Natural ways to combat infertility
So, you need a sperm donor
Secondary infertility struggles

Topics: fertility