Happy New Year! We hope your 2018 is off to a great start. I’ll be honest. Ours was a little rocky at first. You know how it goes – the heat decides to break while you’re out of town and Chicago is -2 outside. Always a great way to ring in the new year. But luckily we got that all fixed up and are excited for what 2018 has in store.
So the new year is synonymous with making resolutions. You may or may not have one. We have two this year. The first is to take a trip somewhere every quarter this year. It doesn’t have to be a major trip. It may be a quick weekend getaway. But we figure it’s good for mental health, physical health, and exposing our little one to new places.
Our second resolution started last year – so we’re cheating a little bit. It’s to do more things that make us feel healthy, both mentally and physically. We’re looking for things to work on in 2018, but in 2017 I decided to give yoga a try. The class I took was Yoga for Fertility and was taught by an awesome teacher named Cassie from Pulling Down the Moon. Pulling Down the Moon has locations throughout the Chicagoland area and I highly recommend it. But if you’re not from the area, check to see what’s near you. Even a beginner level yoga class is beneficial. I’ll let you know how my experience went, but first I wanted to point out that you don’t need to be in the middle of fertility treatments to take this course. I wasn’t and other people in my class weren’t. You can take it if you’re undecided about making the leap to fertility treatments, while undergoing fertility treatments (it’s safe), during pregnancy, after pregnancy. It’s a pretty diverse class. So here’s how it went for me:
Why Take a Yoga Class?
To be transparent, I was hesitant. I’d never done yoga so it was a step outside my comfort zone. And I’m not the most coordinated person on the planet, so I was worried about humiliating myself. I just didn’t consider myself a “yoga type person” and didn’t think I fit the stereotype (once you attend a yoga class you realize there really is no stereotype – it’s a total mix of personalities). I weighed the benefits and thought I’d give it a go. It’s a great social activity and it’s good for mental and physical health.
What is the Experience Like for a Beginner?
I had this vision in my mind of what the class would be like. An hour of poses that start off easy and progressively got more difficult. And I figured this was accompanied by breathing techniques and meditation. And this was all accurate. We started off with some basic poses and progressively added more each class. Then we learned breathing techniques. Finally, we did a relaxation exercise at the end of every class. But what I discovered was how much I enjoyed it. When you’re open to the benefits of yoga, it can be an amazing relaxation tool. And there was also a lot that I learned.
It’s physical. It’s not that I thought the poses looked easy, it’s just that I didn’t realize it takes so much strength and stamina. I came home after every class feeling like I got a good workout in. And you can take the poses home with you and incorporate them into home workout sessions.
It’s more than just posing. Each class we reviewed a different kosha. I won’t dive into detail here, but definitely go see for yourself. They helped me learn how to better deal with stress and offered tips on healthier living.
It’s a fun, social activity. If you’re anything like me, throughout the week you don’t have a ton of extra time. Do you want to go do something social or squeeze that workout in. Luckily, with yoga you get both. I liked having the opportunity to do something social while Nick and Olivia had a little daddy/daughter night.
Does it Really Have an
Impact on Fertility?
As I mentioned, I didn’t have fertility treatment at the same time that I was taking the class, so I can’t comment directly on success one way or the other. I will say, if you are thinking about or in the middle of fertility treatment, the class is an excellent tool. One impact it had on me was hearing the stories from other people in the class. Some had successful or unsuccessful treatments in the past. Others were using yoga to naturally improve fertility while thinking about treatment. And some were in the middle of treatment. Regardless of your situation, it’s great to hear other experiences and advice. It’s something I wish I had when I was doing IVF. We had many supportive people surrounding us, but it’s always nice to talk to other people going through it themselves.
And then there’s the potential for yoga to help the outcome of fertility treatment itself. Fertility Centers of Illinois and Pulling Down the Moon did a study in the impact of yoga on anxiety in fertility patients and it found a 20% reduction in anxiety rates in patients who participated in the Yoga for Fertility program. Why is this important? Normally, stress continues to build during the course of treatment and has a cumulative effect as treatment moves on. This leads to higher drop-out rates of patients and it can cause people to make decisions that aren’t aligned with their treatment goals; in all lowering the successful outcomes of fertility treatments.
Ready to Give Yoga a Shot?
If you are in the Chicago area, come join Pulling Down the Moon for a one hour yoga class designed to support fertility followed by a community acupuncture session! Open your hips, mind and pelvis, release stress and anxiety, and focus the mind. A gentle acupuncture treatment at the end of the class will bring deeper relaxation in resting pose and reset the body’s energy for balance and harmony. Learn more here.