Monday, July 9, 2007

Raise your hand if you’ve read any infertility book that suggested taking a break from exercising for a few months to see if your exercise regimen had anything to do with your fertility.

Yep, a lot of them say this.

Because I’m so fucking eager to do everything right, I took this suggestion. I stopped my Ashtanga yoga practice. I stopped trail running. It’s no longer ski season. I still do yoga-lite about 3x per week at our corporate gym and while it is fun and the instructor is a wonderful woman, it is not the same. I receive neither the same psychological nor physical benefits as I do with my beloved Ashtanga.

The result? I am flabby and unhappy. Not a good combo.

Ashtanga (aka power yoga) takes about 90 minutes to complete the full practice. It’s probably more famous for its famous followers, Madonna and Gwyneth. I started practicing in 2002 after my boss put “get some stress relief” as one of my professional goals for the upcoming year. I didn't even know that I was stopping in on an Ashtanga class when I went to my first yoga session. But now, I luv Ashtanga. I even missed it while I was on my honeymoon.

My acupuncturist also practices Ashtanga and has suggested I curtail my habit because it can deplete kidney yang (which is the Eastern equivalent of Western medicine's low progesterone). My Western doctors just hear the word “yoga” and say, keep exercising.

During pregnancy #1, I practiced nearly every morning, modifying the practice where suggested. But when I miscarried, I was concerned that my practice might have caused it. I don’t know why I thought this. Grasping at straws, I guess.

Should I become pregnant, the Guruji – who developed this type of practice in India - suggests that women with a history of miscarriage not practice during the first trimester. And I’ll take his advice. But for now…what do I do?

I emailed experts on Ashtanga and pregnancy, but the information is anecdotal, limited at best and mostly geared for when you are already pregnant. Is Ashtanga too demanding an exercise regimen for those trying get knocked up? No one can tell me.

I am so confused. How can something that feels so good be so bad for making a baby?

And then came these baby announcements:
Click here. Click here.

Now, the first one, OK, she’s like 25 and at the peak of her fertility even though she weighs under a buck. But the second one? Come on.
Look at these pictures, which given publishing schedules, were probably shot just before she conceived. She looks hot, no? And she’s in her late 30’s.

Seriously, how can demanding exercise and low body weight be that significant of a factor in a successful pregnancy if these 2 can get pregnant? Not to mention countless others (see above for just a few).

I feel duped. I am so over it all.

So, along with giving my BBT the buh-bye, I am resuming my Ashtanga practice on Thursday. Why Thursday? Because Thursday is CD4 (yeah, happy Monday for me – but I knew it was coming) and both TCM and Ashtanga principles suggest not practicing or engaging in excessive exercise during the first 3 days of AF. Looks like she is good for something after all.



Erin said...

Good for you! Enjoy your first day back! I agree, once I saw that Nicole Richie was pg, I figured, nothing I do is going to make a difference. ARGH!!

Sticky Bun said...

I did the same 2+ years later, I'm in the worst shape of my life. And I'm so angry about it.

And don't even get me started on Nicole Ritche. She's anorexic, for the love of peet!

I hope you enjoy the first day back!

LJ said...

Oh, I am so with you my dear planner. After surfing the other day, I just decided, you know, this not working out is getting me nowhere but fat, so I'm over it. I'm not gonna go back to half marathon training, but I'm gonna aim for weights 2-3 times a week and jogging 3x a week. It's all a crapshoot.

Coffeegrl said...

I agree with you - how could anything that feels so good be bad for you? Especially when you consider the emotional, spiritual, and mental benefits to be gained. During the stress of infertility it seems like that's what we'd want to help us get through the day to day. I get so frustrated when none of the experts have a clue! It sounds like you're making the right decision for you right now. As you say, you can always modify your practice later :) Enjoy!

Adrienne said...

Do it!

It doesn't make sense to me that treating your body poorly (not exercising, etc.) increases your chances of getting pregnant. My two cents - I think the answer is: everything in moderation. If you're exercising so much that your body fat is nil, then you're impacting your fertility. But not if you exercise in moderation.

megan said...

i think it's a great idea. really -- as long as you're not training so hard that you have ZERO body fat or something. welcome back to yoga!

Amy R said...

I'm glad you are resuming exercising. And isn't yoga supposed to de-stress you?! Don't see how that would hurt you! Have fun with it; I'm am planning on joining a bikrim yoga class for the next month to find some peace and enlightment and because my IVF RE actually said it would be a good thing to do!

Carrie said...

I gave up all exercise but walking. I agree though, some people seem to have it so easy, others change everything and it is still hard.

I think if the yoga helps with stress than do it. It is so tiring trying to do the 'right' thing all the time., especially when no one agrees what the right thing is.