I Was Hooked
Several years ago when I was a student in a San Francisco prenatal yoga teacher training, my teacher mentioned a fertility yoga sequence that she had practiced when she wanted to start her family. Instantly intrigued, I asked her if she was going to teach it to us. She said she didn’t have time to add it to the current prenatal/postpartum training, but would consider teaching it as a stand alone training in the future. Several months later my husband and I made travel arrangements for a long weekend vacation to San Francisco. The next day my teacher sent a mass email announcing the fertility yoga training the same weekend. I was in.
The Genesis of the Daily Fertility Yoga Sequence
During the training my teacher told us that she decided to start a family a little later in life than most people. She also told us that she had an ovary removed when she was a teenager. She went to the doctor who told her that she had a less than 5% chance of getting pregnant and advised her to begin medical fertility treatments. She decided not to start the medical treatments and instead asked her own teacher what she could accomplish with yoga. Her teacher learned this sequence from Mr. B.K.S. Iyengar. Her teacher taught it to her, advised her to do it every day and to do no other yoga practice. She got pregnant right away and now has two teenagers. I realize that this story is not science. It’s simply her story.
She taught us that true infertility is rare. She said that a person who is 1% fertile is still fertile. In addition to learning the fertility yoga sequence we also discussed the modern trends of people delaying pregnancy until their careers are well-established while their fertility wanes. Some people rely on the hope that reproductive technology will extend their fertile years and allow them to begin a family later. Sometimes they are disappointed. We also discussed employers who entice young workers who are in their prime reproductive years to delay pregnancy by offering future free medical fertility treatments to these employees.
Focused Bodywork and Specialty Yoga Practice Work Together
As a bodyworker practicing and teaching Craniosacral Therapy, I have long been intrigued by the prospect of improving fertility chances with manual therapy. Manual therapy can improve blood flow, and enhance tissue mobility and nerve conduction to the pelvic organs. We know that structure and function are interrelated. Therefore, manual therapy has the potential to help. As with pregnant bodies, pre-pregnant bodies can also benefit from something more – a daily practice designed to enhance (in this case) fertility.
Reverse Engineering the Teachings of the Masters
I told my teacher that weekend that I wanted to dig into this practice, reverse-engineer it, try to figure out how it works and possibly add improvements. In the end, I changed almost nothing except some of the props used to support the body in the various shapes we assume. I have been absolutely true to the sequence itself.
What is the sequence?
It’s not like any yoga practice I have ever tried or studied. It’s almost all inversions and backbends. Every pose is fully-supported by props and held for anywhere from one to 10 minutes. The goals are to improve hormone balance, relax the central nervous system, make space in the body and mind, improve pelvic and abdominal organ mobility, improve connective tissue mobility, enhance nerve conduction and promote healthy blood flow. Plus, it feels really good.
Help for Everyone
I’m many years post menopause. Even though my pelvic organs are no longer engaged in the activity of reproduction, it still makes sense to do this practice. I like doing it, myself.
I have taught this sequence to many at the brick and mortar MamaSpace Yoga studio. Now I have recorded it on video. I hope you enjoy this practice and the other fertility-enhancing videos we are steadily adding to the MamaSpace Yoga website. They are suitable for people who might want to have a baby sometime in the future, people who are engaged in medical fertility treatments, people who are somewhere in between and, really, anybody who wants to enhance the health of their pelvic organs.
Come practice with us!
About Carol Gray
Carol is the founder and owner of MamaSpace Yoga. She has been a therapeutic bodyworker in private practice for over 30 years. She specializes in Craniosacral Therapy for pregnant and postpartum people and infants. Carol has spent years developing hands-on techniques to enhance the mobility in pregnant bodies including the bony pelvis, the abdominal organs, the support structures and lower segment of the uterus. She is proud to have pioneered the integration of this gentle manual therapy into prenatal care, the birth place and postpartum care for birthing parents and babies. The goal is to give babies more room to develop, grow and get born. Her specially-designed yoga classes have grown naturally from the roots of bodywork and yoga.
Carol has dedicated her professional life to supporting expectant and new families by promoting gentle aware birth. She has attended births for over 35 years – at first as a doula and from 2000 to 2012 as a midwife. She has since retired from attending births in order to focus on practicing and teaching CST and prenatal yoga. Her many years as a birth worker have forever changed her and her worldview. Those experiences remain an integral part of who she is as a therapist and teacher.
Carol is the founder and director of the The Carol Gray Center for CST Studies®. She teaches high-quality, small group classes that are appropriate for bodyworkers, birth attendants and other health professionals. She is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education approved provider.