March is Endometriosis Awareness month and to show our support we are here to share some principles, exercises and concepts to support your fertility journey AND improve the overall quality of your life.

It is estimated that 176 million women (and young girls) worldwide are challenged by endometriosis regardless of their ethnic and social background. Many remain undiagnosed and are therefore not treated. [1]

ENDOMETRIOSIS

The condition of endometriosis occurs when the endometrium (lining of the uterus) has migrated outside the uterus and instead “lives” on and around other organs (i.e., the ovaries, fallopian tubes or other regions of the body). In milder cases, the tissue is found mostly in the abdomen. In more extreme cases, it may be found on C-section and laparoscopy/laparotomy scars, the bladder, bowels, diaphragm and beyond. Because it is endometrial tissue, it responds to hormones the same way it would if it were inside the uterus (i.e., as it would during the different parts of your menstrual cycle).

This displaced tissue can cause adhesions (internal scar tissue that connects tissues not normally connected), and as a result impede the natural movement and function of the organs. The pain associated with endometriosis usually occurs around the time of menstruation but a woman can experience a “flare up” anytime.

Traditionally, the symptoms associated with endometriosis have been treated with methods such as manual physical therapies (e.g., myofascial release/internal pelvic PT), changes in diet and lifestyle, hormonal therapies, and practices for pain and stress management.

Yoga and other forms of complementary medicine are becoming more commonplace in the treatment of endometriosis and other pain conditions, which more and more research supports what the ancient yogis (and other healers) have been teaching for centuries. For example, a recent study looking at the impact of yoga on endometriosis pain found significantly reduced chronic pelvic pain and increased quality of life after incorporating a Hatha yoga practice 2x a week for 8 weeks! [2]

When you think of yoga – do you think of doing poses on a mat? That’s what most people initially think. But Hatha Yoga actually includes 8 different practices (and poses are just one of those practices).

To make things simple, we have drawn exercises and tools from four sections of our comprehensive mind-body medicine program for fertility (called Soulful Conceptions™). Here is an introduction to the kinds of mind-body medicine tools we’ll be sharing with you over the next few weeks:

  • BREATH: The breath is the King of the Mind! We begin with specific breath work (pranayama) as a vehicle to bring awareness into the body and help release tension/pain. Conscious breathing helps to lower blood pressure, decrease levels of stress hormones, increases the lung capacity and teaches you how to turn on your Relaxation Response. The ancient yogis discovered that breath was THE most powerful tool to create change in the mind-body system, even more so than conscious thought.
  • YOGA ASANA: We use specific postures (asanas) that stretch and release tension in the muscles, fascia and connective tissue in and around the rib cage/chest, belly, and hips.
  • ACUPRESSURE AND MYOFASCIAL RELEASE: We integrate our unique practice of the Fertility Ball Method® (link to course) to assist in targeting the reproductive organs and surrounding tissues of the belly, hips and pelvic floor.
  • MEDITATION & MINDFULNESS: Meditation and mindfulness are introduced into our practices through an awareness to breath, sensations in the body, open-eyed meditation, moving meditation, and guided meditations. These powerful tools give you more control of your own mind and the opportunity to better hear your own inner guidance.

We are in the business of mind-body medicine tool-kit building! We know that by incorporating one (or more) of these tools (see below) into your (daily) life, you can begin to move from a state of dis-ease (emotionally or physically) into a place of ease and empowerment – and who doesn’t want that?! Minutes a day can do wonders, so there’s no excuses. Taking the time and setting the intention to do a daily yoga practice is life-changing (and does not even require leaving your house).

So stay tuned for more specific practices we will be posting soon!

  1. Endometriosis.org
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27869485

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