Wow wow wow – I’m just so excited to bring you this interview with Zahra Haji, the Yoga Goddess where we talk about all things all things mind-body, relationships and how yoga can help with fertility.
As I mention in the podcast, I just love the energy that Zahra has and the way she can help us all see our infertility in a different light and manage the process better.
I also love the concept that our cycles can be broken up into four different times and that things like menstruation have names like ‘The Wise Women’ – it makes it sound SO much more glamorous than how we so often see it
Can you please tell us a little bit more about yoga and your style of yoga?
Yoga has its roots in India, then called Indus Valley. No one really knows how far back exactly but it is estimated to be about 5000-10,000 years ago
According to the ancient science of yoga, the human body has seven energy centres or chakras. Kundalini yoga (which is the yoga I’m trained in) is a physical and spiritual practice of moving energy up from the root chakra of the body for deep healing and inner transformation. This energy flow is key for a woman’s fertility because the first three chakras house all the reproductive organs of the female body.
Plus the kundalini energy itself is feminine in nature, and is often referred to as Mata Shakti, which is the feminine Mother energy of creation.
Personally, I have practiced yoga for over 20 years. And while I have deep respect and love for both Hatha and Kundalini, the powerful healing I have witnessed with my clients through Kundalini yoga has been like no other. When guided by a fertility yoga expert, I believe working with the kundalini energy is the fastest way to heal reproductive health challenges.
In the practice I share with my fertility clients, I give them a kriya (a set of prescribed postures) to optimise the functioning of the pituitary gland. The pituitary is the master gland of the endocrine system and is responsible for healthy hormonal and reproductive function. It regulates female reproductive hormones such as FSH (which matures the eggs in the ovaries), estrogen, progesterone, and even oxytocin in labour (which regulates pain).
From a yogic perspective, the pituitary gland also regulates a woman’s mental and emotional health and outlook on life, which as we know through the extensive mind-body research on fertility can change a woman’s pregnancy rates by over 50% after an average of three years of infertility when she follows a proven mind-body practice designed for fertility.
How can yoga help fertility warriors like me deal with the intense stress they’re under?
Like most of my fertility clients, I get it you’ve already spent years trying to conceive.
And somehow, through all this, you’re told to relax because in order for the fertility treatments to be successful you need to be stress-free. But of course it feels impossible to relax when you have so much riding on ‘the next try.’ Your body and mind are in knots and if you’re completely honest with yourself you’ve lost confidence in your body. Secretly you’re questioning if your body really can sustain a healthy pregnancy to term.
That’s why I don’t offer an open class for ‘fertility yoga’. A woman on the infertility journey is facing the most intense mental, emotional and physical challenge of her life. So a yoga class that helps her disconnect for an hour and focus on her body and breath will certainly help reduce stress for that 1 hour (or at least part of it), but it will not address all the underlying pain, hurt and sadness that separates her from conceiving and carrying to term – evidenced by Chinese Medicine as the heart-womb connection. I talk about this more in my eBook, Fertility Secrets of the Female Body (click the title to download – it’s free).
Going back to mind-body research, the evidence tells us that hormones released in response to emotional upset, tension or anxiety disrupt the natural flow of vital pituitary gland secretions necessary to produce and release (LH) and (FSH). if this happens, you can start skipping periods or ovulation can be suppressed altogether (anovulatory cycles). Plus nerve fibers traveling through the spinal cord also link the brain directly to the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes – which are directly targeted through moving the kundalini energy up through the chakras and the nadis, which are along the two sides of the spine. In men, because of similar links between the brain and the reproductive organs, tension can reduce sex drive and cause impotency.
What positions do you recommend to help women with infertility manage the stress their under?
“One of the most tried-and-true ways to decrease emotional stress and its physiological effects is with guided imagery, meditation, breathing through the nose, and relaxation.” – Christiane Northrup, M.D.
(Click on the images below to see more about how these poses can help)
Zahra, can you please tell me a bit more about what you do?
When I first started teaching my Moon Goddess classes, my focus wasn’t on infertility specifically.
What I wanted most was to help women change their relationship with their cycles from one of negativity, confusion and pain to empowerment, purpose and connection. I wanted to help women heal and embrace their female bodies and sensual femininity.
What I didn’t expect was so many women showing up in my classes because they were trying to conceive.
And what was even more amazing were all the emails I received months and sometimes weeks after the class, telling me that these women were pregnant after years of trying.
I’ve now been watching this program help women conceive for almost a decade, and this happy accident is no longer a surprise to me (though the joy and delight never wear off!).
know now that Moon Goddess works so well for healing infertility because it incorporates yoga, meditation and visualization to heal the heart-womb connection and reclaim our connection to the feminine. I’ve seen, over and over, fertility restored to women in their mid-thirties to mid-forties who previously spent months and years trying to conceive, who had exhausted every solution medical science could offer them. And I feel deeply honored and blessed that the wisdom I stumbled on in my own search for answers has ended up touching the lives of thousands, of women all across the world.
The myth about infertility is that it is a physical problem that can be cured by a physical solution. And I strongly believe, after years of supporting women to restore their fertility, that if we can’t heal our connection to the feminine we will continue to have infertility issues that can’t be explained by medical science.
Healing our relationship to the feminine is the heart of what Moon Goddess offers. And I know – because I’ve experienced it myself and because so very many women have told me – that this is a priceless gift.