An Intro to Fertility Yoga

By Kendra Tolbert for Yoga Medicine.

With rounded shoulders and downcast eyes, she sighed out the same words I had heard countless other women confess, “I feel like my body has betrayed me.” 

I offered a knowing nod. With a heart full of empathy, I said, “You’re not alone. A lot of women struggling to conceive feel the same way”.

While listening to someone’s story and normalizing their experience is incredibly powerful, I knew I wanted to offer something more. 

Something to help women reconnect with and befriend their bodies. Something to help them remember their innate wholeness. Something to help them access a sense that their bodies were still their most trusted ally even when it didn’t feel like it or look like it. 

It didn’t take long before it became clear to me — I needed to share yoga with this community.

So that’s what I did. And I’m so happy I did. 

Receiving news of positive pregnancy tests from one-on-one clients and viewers of my YouTube videos makes my day. And receiving emails that say things like this, “I became much more confident in my body and more gracious to my body… and now I’m excited to say that we’re six weeks pregnant,” have bolstered that original knowing I had all those years ago — yoga can be a powerful tool to support people who are planning to become parents.

In this post, I’ll share my definition of fertility yoga, the possible therapeutic benefits of yoga for reproductive health, and a gentle fertility yoga practice.

First, what is fertility yoga?

Fertility Yoga Defined

There isn’t an official definition of “fertility yoga” in the dictionary or any yogic texts I can quote here, so I offer you my working definition of “fertility yoga.”

I define fertility yoga as the intentional therapeutic use of the tools and techniques of yoga for the express purpose of supporting optimal reproductive function while preparing the body, mind, and spirit for parenthood.

Essentially, what makes fertility yoga fertility yoga is intentionality, a therapeutic lens, and purpose.


In this case, I use intentionality to point to the goals and desires the student brings to their practice, in addition to the underlying emotional and energetic states I hope to help students cultivate and experience. 

For some students, their aim might be to increase their chances of getting pregnant. For others, it might be to relieve pelvic floor discomfort, allowing for penis-in-vagina sex. While for others, it might be to manage the stress of life and fertility challenges. 

My underlying goal might be to create a sense of receptivity, ease, sensuality, vitality, or hope. Or it might be to set the stage for someone to have a positive and enjoyable experience in their body. Other times, my goal might be to provide an opportunity to practice patience and get comfortable with not always knowing what’s next.

A Therapeutic Lens

Therapeutically, I look at fertility yoga through two lenses: a traditional medicine lens and a modern Western science lens.

Traditional Medicine

Traditional medicine systems from around the world are incredibly diverse and varied. Still, they often share some common elements, including the belief that preconception preparation of the mind, body, and spirit is crucial for both males and females.

In both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda, protecting and replenishing the reservoirs of energy and vitality (Jing in TCM and Ojas in Ayurveda) is essential when preparing for conception and pregnancy.

Yoga is one practice that can be turned to increase one’s vitality.

Western Science

I’d be lying if I said there has been plenty of research on yoga and fertility. There hasn’t been, but there has been some. And what we do have suggests yoga can benefit people who are planning to or actively trying to conceive.

The Research of Alice Domar, Ph.D.

One researcher who gets plenty of attention in the fertility yoga space is Alice Domar, Ph.D. 

While her studies (which you can find links to in the “References” section below) do support the use of mind-body practices to improve fertility outcomes, it’s important to point out that her mind-body interventions include “relaxation training, cognitive restructuring, methods for emotional expression, and nutrition and exercise information as they apply to infertility. The relaxation techniques included meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, imagery, autogenic training, and yoga,” not just yoga.

Anxiety, Depression, Infertility, and Yoga

Infertility exacts a heavy emotional toll. So equipping people with tools to manage the mental and emotional aspects of experiencing difficulty conceiving is crucial. Yoga is a tried and trusted tool for supporting emotional well-being and appears to be beneficial for people diagnosed with infertility.

In a study published in 2015, researchers investigated if yoga could improve the mood and quality of life of women diagnosed with infertility waiting to begin IVF. By the end of the study, there were improvements in fertility-related quality of life, emotional quality of life, mind-body quality of life, anxiety, and depression.


By purpose, I’m referring to the specific energetic, physical, and emotional benefits or mindfulness skills I hope to impart with a particular pose or technique.

Special Considerations When Undergoing Ovarian Stimulation

It’s wise to avoid twists, inversions (except legs up the wall), abdominal crunches, prone positions, and sudden jerking movements during ovarian stimulation (sometimes called stims, the stim phase, the stimulation phase, or stimming) and after egg retrieval if ovarian stimulation was used, due to discomfort and the increased risk of ovarian torsion

Any poses that feel uncomfortable or unsafe to the individual and any poses their provider cautions them to refrain from should also be avoided.

What Fertility Yoga is Not

Fertility yoga is not a particular style or “brand” of yoga. Any style or “brand” of yoga can support fertility. That said, some, myself included, would argue that strenuous, fast-paced, or heated practices are not the best options for *most* people who are trying to conceive. This is especially true for people who are chronically stressed, depleted, experiencing chronic disease, or are already quite active.

Gentle Yoga Sequence for Fertility

Below, you’ll find a short fertility-supporting sequence. 

Before you start the practice, take note of your mood and breath. As you practice it, notice any sensations you feel in your body. At the end of the practice, notice any changes in your mood, sensations in your body, and breathing. 

Feel free to use any prop that helps you customize this practice to your body. If possible, set up next to a wall, bed, chair, or couch.

Constructive Rest

Lie down with your knees bent and the soles of your feet flat on the floor. Allow your knees to fall towards each other and walk your feet out as wide as the mat. If it feels comfortable to do, rest one hand on your lower abdomen and the other on the center of your chest. Breathe deeply here for 1 minute.


Make your way onto your hands and knees, hands under your wrists, hips over your knees, with a long, neutral spine. On your inhale, gently arch your spine. On your exhale, gently round your spine. Repeat 7-10 times. Come back to a neutral spine.

Child’s Pose

Place your big toes together and bring your knees out as wide as your mat. Bring your hips back towards your heels, resting them on your heels if it’s comfortable to do so. Walk your hands forward and rest your forehead on the floor or a prop. Rest here for 1 minute.

Happy Baby

Come back up onto your hands and your knees. Then lie down on your back with your knees bent. Draw your knees toward your armpits. Notice if you are clenching your abdomen or lifting your tailbone off the ground. If you are, explore what it feels like to allow your hips to lower to the ground and your abdomen to relax.

Straighten your legs and flex your ankles just enough to point the soles of your feet toward the ceiling. 

Choose where you’d like to place your hands:

  • the backs of your thighs
  • around your ankles
  • the outside or inside edges of your feet

Remain here for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Legs Up the Wall

Lower your feet back to the ground. Sit sideways next to your wall, bed, chair, or couch. Lean back onto your elbows and swivel so your bottom and the backs of your thighs are facing your wall, bed, chair, or couch. 

Lie down on your back and rest your straightened legs on the wall. If using a bed, chair, or couch, bend your legs and allow them to drape over your chosen support. If it feels comfortable to do, place your hands on your lower abdomen. Breathe here for 1-2 minutes.


If you’re at a wall and your knees are straightened, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet to the wall. Whether you’re at your wall, bed, chair, or couch, roll over onto one side. Then, lie down on your back with straightened legs. Rest your hands next to your body with your palms up. 

Rest here for at least one minute, longer if time permits and it feels supportive to linger here.


  • Domar AD, Rooney KL, Wiegand B, Orav EJ, Alper MM, Berger BM, Nikolovski J. Impact of a group mind/body intervention on pregnancy rates in IVF patients. Fertil Steril. 2011 Jun;95(7):2269-73. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.03.046. Epub 2011 Apr 15. PMID: 21496800.
  • Domar, A. D., Clapp, D., Slawsby, E. A., Dusek, J., Kessel, B., & Freizinger, M. (2000). Impact of group psychological interventions on pregnancy rates in infertile women. Fertility and Sterility, 73(4), 805–811.
  • Domar, A. D., Seibel, M. M., & Benson, H. (1990). The mind/body program for infertility: A new behavioral treatment approach for women with infertility. Fertility and Sterility, 53(2), 246–249.
  • Oron G, Allnutt E, Lackman T, Sokal-Arnon T, Holzer H, Takefman J. A prospective study using Hatha Yoga for stress reduction among women waiting for IVF treatment. Reprod Biomed Online. 2015 May;30(5):542-8. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2015.01.011. Epub 2015 Feb 3. PMID: 25779021.


About the Author

Kendra Tolbert, MS, RDN, RYT is an award-winning registered dietitian and yoga teacher specializing in women’s health and fertility. She combines practical self-care, enjoyable nutrition, and mindful movement to help people prepare for pregnancy, support their reproductive health, and improve their overall well-being. She believes that though our bodies, hormones, and fertility are complex, how we care for all three can be simple.


Leave a Reply

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.