Podcaster and writer Elizabeth Day started doing yoga while undergoing IVF treatments, and now it’s become one of her passions
Over the past seven years, she has developed a love of the practice and continues to learn from it each day.
If you’re going through IVF, you’ve likely heard a ton of advice, both solicited and very much unsolicited! It seems like everyone has their own ‘secret trick’ for helping IVF success, including diet hacks and ‘positive thinking.’ However, one regular suggestion may have some truth behind it: yoga.
By helping you relax and clear your mind, yoga may help lower your cortisol levels.
Cortisol, often called the ‘stress hormone,’ can wreak havoc with your fertility hormones and mess around with your cycle. Scientific studies and anecdotal advice concur that yoga is beneficial for all kinds of medical maladies, including infertility.
Elizabeth started yoga when it was repeatedly recommended to her while going through IVF
She writes, “any time you’re in the unremittingly stressful situation of trying for a baby, you will be told to avoid stress. For me, that seemed impossible, so I decided to outsource my relaxation to other people.”
She started working with a private yoga instructor for her first few sessions, and then moved on to group classes
She says that this “began one of the most committed, reliable, reciprocal relationships of my life. Yoga has never failed me. It has seen me through multiple house moves, romantic break-ups, and job changes. I can now easily touch my toes and no longer feel as though sitting cross-legged for more than 30 seconds is an assault on my skeleton.*
In addition to reducing her stress and getting in better shape, she has “learnt that yoga is meant to be an exercise in self-acceptance. It is not a competitive sport.” However, her old competitive spirit often kicks in, and she has a never-ending urge to ‘beat’ those around her at poses.
Upon feeling extremely competitive with a man in front of her in a particularly challenging yoga class, she felt relief when she found out he was a teacher himself. Though her husband gently chided her that yoga isn’t meant to be competitive, she battles the demon on her shoulder. “But if yoga is a journey of self-acceptance, then perhaps I have to accept my competitiveness, too? That, and the fact I’ll probably never do such a beautiful forearm stand.”
In addition to stoking her competitive spirit, yoga has meant the world to Elizabeth and helped her change her world view.
Though her IVF treatments were not successful, she has found a sense of peace and joy in her childfree life, and yoga has been a big part of her journey.
Do you practice yoga? If so, do you relate to Elizabeth’s story and her urge to be competitive with others and even herself? We want to hear about your experiences with yoga, relaxation, and fertility, so leave your comments below and share your story
How Fertility Yoga can benefit your IVF journey
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