As a yoga teacher, I can see unlimited benefits of doing yoga. I often hear my clients mirroring online discussions about not being flexible enough to reap the rewards of yoga. This is not what yoga is about. The word yoga (yoke) means union. Yoga is the union of the mind, body and breath. It is a system, that can cultivate health and happiness and deliver a greater sense of self-awareness and higher consciousness.
There are SO many styles of yoga these days, if I had to write a list, we would be here all day. But the yoga we are focusing on today is Yin yoga. It is different to the more yang styles of yoga, ie. Vinyasa (flow) which creates heat in the body by incorporating a more vigorous form of yoga within a flow of continuous sequence.
I cannot emphasise enough, the importance and consideration of what “type” of exercise you’re doing during the period you are menstruating or trying to donate eggs. We want you to avoid vigorous forms of high impact aerobic exercise and weight-lifting (especially Crossfit, F45 etc). Vigorous yoga in heated rooms should also be avoided.
Don’t get me wrong, exercise is brilliant! It is beneficial for our health but when we are menstruating or donating eggs, we want to be able connect with our bodies. We want to soothe our body and allow it to connect to the mind and be on a level where we create awareness, expel blockages (Chi), and connect to our inner wisdom during this time. We want to be able to hear what is happening inside, and we cannot do this on a level where we exhaust the body and mind.
Research reinforces that strenuous exercise can disrupt reproductive hormone regulation. With my own fertility journey, I was teaching up to 12 classes of strong Ashtanga vinyasa a week, as well as doing my own practice daily at 5am, I was running and I was working in an office environment all day. Whew! Looking back now I realise how my poor body was depleted! I had overtraining syndrome and I believe this partially contributed to implantation failure and my many miscarriages.
I encourage my clients to practice Yin Yoga, as it helps increase reproductive health. It has a positive impact on the endocrine system which is the hormonal operating system in the body. Yin yoga is a slow, meditative and a gentle form of yoga, which predominantly focuses on the area of the pelvic region.
As with any new exercise program it can be difficult to get into a routine. It’s a new year and maybe this year will bring you new meaning and a vision for your dreams and goals for your future. It can be a bit draining trying to find hone in on your time management skills. But we all know with a clean diet and good gentle exercise programme, the foundation for good health is already in place for your own journey, whatever it may be.
So, learning a new exercise practice may seem tough at first, but if you are consistent with it, you will see huge changes in your health over time. Try not place any judgement on yourself. It may be best to begin this practice at your own pace. Begin by doing Yin Yoga 2-3 times a week, increase to 5 times a week if you would like. Do what works for you.
During this practice its vital that you give yourself 100% permission to let go and allow any feelings to surface. This is a great time to have a good cry (tears are full of cortisol) and to honour the journey of your cycle and your journey. When we cry, we release stress hormones and toxins, so once we have cried we able to return to our place of peace.
This is the perfect time to feel your womb, connect with it and know that anything that you feeling, your womb is feeling it too. Find a connection to the self during this time, even if you feel sad your period has arrived. It’s so important for us to connect to our womb and have a strong relationship with it during this time. It is important emotionally, mentally and physically to release strong feelings, especially on conception journeys.
There are specific poses for each of the four phases of the menstrual cycle:
Today, we are focusing on the Follicular Phase (Fertility Sequence 1). The following poses promote rest, healthy movement of blood out of the uterus, and emotional release and comfort.
Opening Meditation (Temple Meditation)
Come to a comfortable seat or lie down and complete the Temple Meditation.
Supported Child’s Pose:
Hold for 3-10 minutes
Paschimottanasana / Seated Forward Bend With Acupressure Point L2 & 3:
Hold for 3-10 minutes
Supported Upavistha Konasana / Seated Wide Angle:
Hold for 3-10 minutes
Join me again next week where in Part Two, I will take you through the the final seven poses of the Follicular Phase, which are:
With Love, Light and blessings
Leigh Journey OM
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