Understanding how you create a strong foundation for yourself on the yoga mat will help you off the mat and in the reproductive endocrinologist’s office. Because when you feel secure in yourself, you’re better able to engage with the world in a way that supports yourself and your infertility journey.
Feeling connected to the ground is essential to feeling safe and secure in your body. To use a rock-climbing expression, when you have ‘good feet,’ you feel stable, your fear subsides, and you’re better able to move confidently to and from different foot and hand holds. Same, same in yoga, and in life.
In the physical practice of yoga, your foundation is anything touching the ground in support of the body. Let’s use plank pose as an example. Your hands and feet are your foundation. In a headstand, your hands and forearms are on the mat.
Energetically speaking, when we feel safe within our homes, within our bodies, within our workplace, and within our partnership with ourselves and others, we’re better able to manifest our greatest desires — like a baby. When we’re feeling anxious or restless, we’re unable to focus, we lack discipline, we feel unsettled or swirly. And our body is likely to feel unsafe and unwelcoming to the point we will have difficulty conceiving. This is when we need to establish sure footing again.
Oftentimes you’ll hear yoga teachers, like Jen and Michelle, invite you to feel for the floor or ground beneath. What we’re asking you to do is to tune into the subtle sensations of the body and reconnect with the ground. Another way we encourage you to ground down is by standing on your feet or weighting down your pelvis with either your body weight, an extra blanket, or a sandbag. Ultimately, we’re bringing your attention to your foundation with the hope you’ll feel more at ease in your mind, body, and heart.
Let’s look at this closer with mountain pose or tadasana:
Place your feet with the heels in line with your sitting bones and second and third toes.
Spread your toes wide and lift the inner arches of your feet.
Bend your knees slightly, lift your quads towards your pelvis, and spin your inner thighs towards the wall behind you.
Draw the lowest part of your belly in and up.
Lengthen through the side seams.
Knit the front of your ribcage together.
Draw the shoulder blades down and in towards your midline.
Lengthen through the back of your neck.
Chin parallel with the floor.
Crown of the head reaching for the ceiling.
Spiral the palms of the hands facing out.
Keep all of that and notice how this integrated mountain pose feels in your body. Hopefully stable and sturdy, just like your foundation. Aim to maintain these sensations throughout your physical practice because mountain pose is the base, the foundation for the rest of your practice.
Another element of yoga that helps support the cultivation of a strong foundation is mindfulness. When we skip out on mindfulness, we miss out on opportunities to feel more in ‘control’ of our thoughts and feelings. By tuning into the subtle sensations of your body, by noticing the thoughts in your mind, and by bringing awareness to the quiet whisperings from your heart, you become aware of how you feel on and off the mat. This results in making informed decisions that shape the direction your life goes in, like if you should do another round of IVF or not.
Do you feel secure in your mind, body, and heart?
If you answered ‘yes,’ then keep it up!
If you answered ‘no,’ what might you tweak to better support you? What rituals might you put in place to reconnect with yourself on a deeper level more regularly? What resources do you need to feel more secure in your external world? What else might you need to do to feel more stable, more in control of your life?