Amy Mckeown MBPsS, BSc, PGDip, Yoga and Wellness Coach, The Founder of Kukoon Wellness , Kukoon Wellness
Emotions and Support, Lifestyle and Fertility
‘I think there’s a lot of stigmas attached, you have to be quite fit, slim and healthy to do yoga, whereas yoga is beneficial for absolutely anybody, and it’s all about calming your mind and strengthening your body, but at the same time, it’s about strengthening your mind and calming your body. It’s very much a move in meditation to help clear your mind, stay focused. We incorporate breathing exercise into our practice, and it’s very much about moving with your breath, so that keeps you very present it means that you can only focus on yourself.’Yoga is very much about listening to your body and how you feel, knowing your energy, and moving to what works for you. There’s no real right or wrong, you know your body better than anyone, so if you feel energetic and you can do a strong class, then try one. If you feel you want to relax, unwind, and be calm in your practice, then there’s always that option as well. Amy emphasized that’s what is beautiful about yoga, it’s very much tailored around you, it’s not the teacher, it’s not about yoga as such, it’s about you, your mental head like space and how we can apply that for you. Thinking about how emotion impacts our body is where yoga can be really important. Many times, people say: ‘I don’t feel very stressed, I feel okay, but my doctor has said I seem stressed out.’ A lot of the time, we think we’re good at hiding our emotions, and we’re just ignoring them, but the fact is that our body absorbs that and what we don’t release it just comes through as tension and stress and tightness in our body, and that can be represented as physical pain. Sometimes tension comes from the lower back, and many females particularly hold tension in their pelvis, a lot of emotion is held there. Men hold a lot of stress in their hips, so a lot of the time, this tension just builds up, and it’s working its way up to your body, and it’s your body saying, I’m stressed and often your head is the last place to acknowledge that. It’s important to notice this in our body, and through your yoga classes, you can get that awareness. One of the first things Amy says to her patients during her classes is to do a body scan, notice where you feel maybe a bit of tension. It’s about getting rid of all that negative energy as well as having to deal with daily stresses or the stresses that you’re going through. Yoga is good for helping to reduce emotions or building up more positive emotions, and that helps with fertility because yoga is all about building heat within your pelvis to stimulate that blood flow circulation going. It helps with your reproductive organs, it helps you to balance out your hormones. Some poses are all about flushing out the toxins in your body and just helping stimulate positive, happy hormones, as we call them. There’s been quite a lot of studies that show this helps to improve sperm count as well as its mobility, just because you’re helping to build the blood flow to that area. Through yoga, we can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system reducing anxiety, helping to balance the hormones out and, in turn, especially if you do a yin class in the evening, can help you improve your sleep, and it will reduce that physical pain.
‘For some people, meditation doesn’t come naturally and again, that’s got a stigma attached to it because it’s not about clearing your mind and having nothing in your head, that’s impossible, it’s about refocusing and knowing what you need to be the best benefit for you for the next few days.’According to Amy, if you feel that you’ve tried meditation and hate it, but want to give it a go, know that there are ways to work on that, and Amy is always able to help, just contact her, and she can work on it with you because it’s not something you should avoid.
You don’t specifically need any extra training, but it is out there, and I always highly recommend it because there are things that we don’t know about if you haven’t been through that certain fertility journey yourself, you can’t always relate, and I think you need to learn what poses you should be doing, what poses you shouldn’t be doing. Although it’s not necessary, I would highly recommend it, just to understand male and female bodies in terms of their fertility journey, you learn about the reproductive system far more in detail than you ever would in a normal yoga training course. So yes, definitely.
Yes, that is correct. We have mixed classes and one-on-one classes. I have a lot of one-to-one classes with couples. I always recommend couples to come together into my group classes, so they’re mixed. I’ve always got guys in there, and sometimes they’re not couples, it’s just guys trying to help with their own fertility.
If you’re holding tension in your belly, I would definitely recommend doing some breathing exercises just to loosen up around the abdomen, it might just be quite tight if that’s where you’re holding your stress. It depends on your gender as to whether we’re going to encourage you to do some twists or not if you’re female definitely, not depending on where we are, but if you’re a man, you can definitely work on a few twists. We could do some so-called leg extensions, you’d lengthen the back of the leg out, the arm forward, and then you could gently scrunch them together, and that’s just going to loosen around your abdomen area and relieving that tension, but as a general rule, I would say work with your breath, taking deep belly breaths. A lot of the time, we just breathe up into our rib cage, so if you notice you’re breathing now, it’s probably quite shallow, so if you take deeper breaths and fill up into your belly, that really helps relieve any tension you’re holding around the belly and noticing maybe it could be around your back as well.
I would definitely recommend at least three days or more if you feel a bit more tender than that. Focus more on managing your emotions, maybe with some meditation, some breathing in that. In that time, three days and listen to your body more if you’re still feeling a bit sore, sensitive.
In the two-week wait, you’re going to want to be a lot more gentle with your body, a little more sort of nurturing. You can feel quite hypersensitive and anxious, so just being super gentle with yourself, connecting your head and body. Gentle yoga practices, avoiding any deep stretching. That sort of if you find yourself in a warrior 2 poses, as we looked at earlier. You can do that, as long as you then don’t force yourself into a painful pose. I would avoid any of the twists, so if you’re in, say, a high lunge, and you try and incorporate a twist, that I would avoid that at all costs. The handstands, anything that involves putting your hips higher than your heart. I would avoid any twist, so that would be whatever a twist that’s like in a yoga class for you. There are loads of them. Generally, any poses of a twist and any inversions to avoid and just be gentle. I would say a child’s pose is a good one, and even a gentle downward dog can be quite nice.
I think you need to be kind to yourself, take time to listen to yourself, Yoga will definitely help you to ease off the emotions. You don’t want to let go of them necessarily, but you want to learn to control them. Use them in a way that’s going to benefit you, and yoga can really help you. Every time you get on your mat for that one hour, half an hour, whatever it looks like for you, it will just take your mind off of everything, and it just helps you to refocus and remind yourself how strong you are, the journey you’ve been through and how you can use that to build yourself up and strengthen yourself and keep going. If you can meditate or start to meditate and refocus yourself, it will do absolute wonders because it just puts you on a whole other field within yourself, and it allows you to have that mind-body connection.
Stay present and mindful because I think we all forget to do that, especially, when you’ve been through something like this, and you are going to grieve a lot. It’s about just giving yourself time and not just giving yourself time to overcome this feeling, it’s about giving yourself time physically. Your body’s been through a lot, your mind’s been through a lot, and it’s just about bringing them back together in harmony rather than potentially fighting against each other, building more stress and more anxiety, causing your body to tense up. Therefore, affecting your whole reproductive system. By doing yoga and meditation, it will just help you to balance your mindset and body.
In terms of the time of day, well, there are various answers, it would depend on how you’re feeling and with yoga, in my opinion, yoga should be done when you feel like doing it. Don’t force yourself to do yoga, it should never become a chore, it should just be something you enjoy, stepping onto your mat and practising, but it is very good in the mornings. It’s a very good time to do your fertility yoga just because it helps you to build that energy level that you might need. It obviously promotes the blood flow, the circulation throughout your body, and it can just really sort of set your mind focused for the rest of the day as well. Although, it’s not bad to do it in the evening if that’s what works around your diary. Some people prefer that, so it’s quite a subjective question in a sense it’s all about you. Yoga is about you, what works for you, but I would say the morning if you were going to pin me down to one.