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Conversations from the Mat

How Yoga can aid Fertility in this Modern Age By Nadine Richardson

Yogawoman - Friday, August 31, 2012
These days we all know at least one couple on the conception rollercoaster. 1 in 6 Australians suffers with infertility and approximately 1 in 5 Americans. And it’s not only costing us emotionally but financially too. In 1999, the newsletter HealthFacts reported that the treatment of infertility is a $2 billion a year industry in the US alone.

I have been watching my friends and students over the last 10 years go through this tumultuous journey. I’ve seen infertility not just chip away at bank balances but also shatter self-esteem. It puts tremendous pressure on relationships and makes women feel volatile or depressed and generally like they are in a washing machine after treatments. Thus making it hard to maintain work, friendships, connection to the outside world and a loving connection to one’s body.

It can also be hard to maintain a yoga practice and attend regular classes because of the strength that may be needed or the heat in the room. So I wanted to create a yoga practice that would aid conception, ease nerves and anxiety and allow women to feel empowered daily. I want to restore a loving connection to their bodies and reassure them that they are doing everything they can to assist in the process.

So many factors contribute to infertility such as environmental toxins, scarring in the reproductive tract, hormonal imbalances, thyroid irregularities, poor diet, low body fat, smoking etc. And yet stress contributes to at least 90% of all ailments in human beings.

We are the only animals on the planet that sustain a stress response over a long period of time i.e. the fight or flight response. Our busy western lifestyles, the pressure of mortgages, the GFC and infertility itself all mean that in the subconscious or in the collective there can be continual stress driving our days and our nights.

The latest statistics show that the introduction of stress reduction practices like yoga and meditation plus emotional support through group discussion as well as changes to diet increase a couple’s fertility by 50%. (See Dr Rahul Sachdev, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey)

Yoga helps us to pause, to unplug and reconnect with our centre and our stillness. It helps us move from the fight or flight response into the opposite, the relaxation response which balances the endocrine system and improves circulation to the major organs. I have been teaching women of all ages and stages for the last 15 years and specialize in the pregnancy and childbirth preparation. The antenatal course, She Births® that I created is now part of large scale medical randomized controlled trials at 2 major hospitals in Sydney.

The principles and foundation of my work with pregnant couples is actually the ultimate purpose of yoga - to settle the mind, or, you could say, to settle the nervous system. I actually believe that in some strange way couples are now being asked to move into this place and start learning and practicing before conceiving. Although painful at times it is not such a bad thing as it creates a much healthier body for the mum and baby and a much happier pregnancy which contributes greatly to a positive birth experience, ease of parenting and so on…

The movements and postures I have developed are based upon a softening and deep releasing of the fascia, joints and tissues in specific areas. There are many areas in the body that require openness to conceive, primarily around the lower belly and the lower back, where the main neural connections are to the reproductive organs. But also around the kidneys and adrenals and the heart space to boost the immune system and overall prana or flow of chi.  

There are specific breathing techniques for settling the nervous system and visualizations that come from the ancient vedic texts. I have also been consulting with experts in the Chinese medicine and the chiropractic field to explore and deepen the daily belly massage and asana practice.

Join Nadine Richardson at KM Yoga on Saturday 8th September 3.30 – 6pm for Sydney’s first She Yoga® Fertility Workshop. For Or learn more about Nadine's work via her website She Yoga®. 

After our Sydney workshop I will also be setting up a support group for women to be a part of and offering the workshop around Australia and online. Feel free to forward this information on to friends in need and stay in the loop for more updates by subscribing at She Yoga®. 


Nadine Richardson is a mother, qualified childbirth educator, senior doula and yoga teacher of over 13 years. Nadine began fulltime yoga teaching in 1998 after completing a 3-year apprenticeship. She has thoroughly enjoyed teaching to thousands of students around the world. She has facilitated women’s retreats, conferences, sharing circles and workshops for women and teenagers. Nadine also runs She Births a short highly effective course that prepares women and couples for birth and early parenthood. 

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