Ep 087: Yoga for Fertility with Beth Heller

The journey of infertility is a difficult one. Beth Heller joins Shannon on this episode to share her own story and experiences with infertility, and how that led her to become the co-founder and co-director of Pulling Down the Moon.

Beth is a mother and a yoga teacher whose niche and passion is yoga for fertility. She has a degree in human nutrition and spent 4 years working as a nutrition researcher. She found her way to yoga while going through high stress, infertility, a miscarriage, and the stillbirth of her daughter at 38 weeks. In these experiences, she found the true value of yoga and wanted to share how yoga helped her regain her period and get pregnant, and how it held and supported her through loss.

In 2002, Beth founded Pulling Down the Moon with Tami Quinn, where she now teaches yoga in classes and one-on-one instruction, with a focus on yoga for fertility, prenatal yoga, and yoga to people at the age and stage of pregnancy. She is also a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Beth shares her insight about how yoga helps improve fertility, and how she has helped women through their fertility journey in her practice, particularly by creating a supportive space in her studio. Shannon and Beth also discuss the benefits of online classes in breaking down barriers for some people, and how yoga teachers can fully support women or couples going through loss, miscarriage or fertility difficulties.

An open, honest and heartfelt conversation, this episode great for any yoga teacher working with people dealing with fertility, and pregnancy, and interested in finding out more about discovering your niche in yoga.

“While the whole relationship between stress and fertility is very controversial, what we do know is the journey when somebody’s trying to conceive, … comes with an intense amount of stress.” ~ Beth Heller

Key Takeaways:

[5:30] Shannon welcomes Beth Heller on the show.

[7:06] What was Beth’s journey to yoga and fertility, and Pulling Down the Moon?

[8:45] How did yoga support Beth through her miscarriage, and lead her down the path of yoga and fertility?

[12:31] What programs does Pulling Down the Moon offer?

[13:53] Beth shares about the research studies that have been done with the program she offers.

[17:50] Research done with Beth’s yoga course showed higher effectiveness with an online class than in person class. Beth reflects on why that might be the case.

[19:58] Beth and Shannon discuss why an online yoga class might be useful in breaking down barriers for some people.

“Anyone that doesn’t acknowledge that collection of like-minded people coming together and supporting each other being a huge part of the efficacy of yoga, just need to look at this study.” ~ Beth Heller

[20:49] Beth talks through some of the numbers in the study

[22:03] What should yoga teachers know going into teaching someone who is on a fertility journey?

[25:17] What does fertility yoga look like, and what makes it different from regular yoga classes?

[27:59] Beth’s sessions also include a component of group discussion, apart from the practice of yoga. What is the breakdown of her classes?

[28:58] How does Beth deal with women in her fertility group who get pregnant?

[31:34] Beth has yoga studios in Chicago, and online classes as well.

[33:25] What are some of Beth’s suggestions for women wanting to do yoga for fertility?

[34:08] Beth’s book and DVD, Fully Fertile, is set up as a holistic 12-week program that can also be done as a book club.

[35:47] What is Beth’s advice for people who are supporting women or couples dealing with infertility?

[38:36] Beth would like for more studies to be done to evaluate the health and fertility benefits of yoga.

[39:43] Find out more about Beth and her work at her website.

[40:12] Shannon has a resource that can help you be supportive to someone who has experienced a miscarriage or loss.

[41:42] Shannon shares her own experience of the unintentionally hurtful things people can say to others going through a loss, and how yoga helped her through that period.

[43:50] Connect with Shannon to continue the conversation in the Facebook group. Shannon also has some exciting news about MamaNurture 2019, and the Online Yoga for Pelvic Health Course.

“The fertility journey, in particular IVF, is equal to the stress a woman experiences when she’s diagnosed with cancer.” ~ Beth Heller

Links:

Beth Heller

Pulling Down the Moon

Pulling Down the Moon on Facebook

Pulling Down the Moon on Instagram

Pulling Down the Moon on Pinterest

Fully Fertile: A Holistic 12-Week Plan for Optimal Fertility, by Beth Heller

Fertility Centers of Illinois

Study Finds Significant Benefits of Yoga for Women Trying to Conceive

New Study: Stress and Yoga – Online & In-Person Yoga Equally Effective in Reducing Stress

Devan McGuinness, Unspoken Grief

Words Women May Find Hurtful After Miscarriage, on Unspoken Grief Blog

MamaNurture Prenatal Yoga Teacher Certification 2019

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