EXERCISE

The research on the effects of exercise on infertility seems to be unclear. It is well known that vigorous exercising, e.g. training to run a marathon, can have quite a detrimental effect on fertility rates for both females and males. These effects can apparently be diminished once the intensity of exercise is reduced.

Women who engage in moderate levels of exercise should check with their physicians regarding the advisability of limiting their exertion levels during infertility treatment.
Many women tend to use exercise as an effective method to help reduce stress, and they miss this activity during infertility treatment. Mind/Body techniques offer alternative ways of relieving stress that may help. Another helpful approach is gentle yoga.

YOGA

In today's hustle and bustle world, it's harder and harder to find the inner peace and quiet our bodies and minds crave. When you're trying to conceive, finding that inner peace becomes more important than ever.

Yoga is a mind/body exercise enabling you to re-charge on all levels and allow your body to work its innate magic. The word yoga means union. In the physical postures of yoga, this union is the uniting of the attention of the mind and the awareness of the breath to the movements of the body.

Tuning into the breath helps many women feel more connected to their own bodies. There is a strong focus in yoga on linking the postures with the breath, as the body is eased into each of the poses. This helps to create a state of calmness and self-awareness as each woman learns to listen to her body as it stretches and moves.

Yoga poses (a.k.a. asanas) foster the awareness of feelings, both physical and emotional. The poses build strength and flexibility by irrigating the spine, opening the chest and the muscles of the back and strengthening the hips, thighs and hamstrings. It is believed that we hold a large percentage of our emotional tension in our hamstrings. Yoga poses help nourish and lubricate the joints and help release tension and buildup of toxins in the body. They also have positive effects on all the internal organs. Twisting poses, for example, massage the abdominal area with a "squeeze and soak" effect, squeezing the internal organs and soaking them with fresh blood. Flushing out the internal organs like this helps them function at an optimal level. Twists help eliminate toxins and waste products, tone the diaphragm for improved respiration, improve circulation and promote lateral flexibility of the spine. More subtle benefits of twists are the release of emotional and physical tensions and the calming of restlessness and agitation. The benefits of other poses, such as back bends, balance and inverted poses are numerous.

The result of a balanced yoga class is an inward quality of stillness and quiet. Your body feels rested and reenergized at the same time. Your internal organs are recharged allowing them to function more effectively. Your mind is calm, clear and alert.

So if you're having trouble conceiving, why not give yoga a try? You have everything to gain.

Note: please consult your physician before doing any type of yoga other than gentle poses and stretches.

Angelika P. Schwab, R.Y.T.

Angelika has been practicing yoga for a number of years. She became interested in yoga while living and working in London. She received her 200-hour certification through Ananda in California. She teaches a variety of classes in the Dallas area, while specializing in pre- and postnatal yoga. You may contact her at angelikapschwab@yahoo.com or call 972.247.2324.