Each week, we share the work of local Colorado birth professionals. We're honored to be sharing Kate Potvin's fertility work with you today.
by Kate Potvin
I watched a good friend struggle to become pregnant for several years. I witnessed the toll it was taking on her body, her relationships, and her emotional state: I saw her isolation and her inability to feel joy at the pregnancy announcements that suddenly seemed to surround her. I watched as the stress started to mount and take it’s toll; how her relationship with a body that was “failing” her began to change; how her marriage started to crumble. And I realized that she was not alone.
Thousands of women are dealing with the same issues every day (an estimated 1 in 7 couples will struggle with fertility at some point), and yet many women feel very isolated as they deal with fertility challenges. Friends and family may not completely understand what the big deal is or why it’s taking you so long to get pregnant--and it hurts. If those closest to you don’t understand, then who will? As a yoga teacher, I began to see that there was a gaping hole that needed to be filled, and I felt myself called to do something about it.
After researching and reading, and after studying with the amazing Lynn Jensen in Seattle, I brought Yoga for Fertility to Colorado Springs in order to create a safe space for women to reconnect with their bodies, process their emotions, and meet other women on the same journey.
My goal is to help women reconnect with bodies they may feel betrayed by. When our bodies fail to work as we think they should, it’s easy to disconnect, but reconnecting is an important part of our healing process.
Yoga for Fertility also adapts to women’s monthly cycles: working in the first half to stimulate and increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, which helps the uterus develop a thick lining and the ovaries to release a high-quality egg. In the second half of the cycle (post-ovulation), we work to support implantation, taking more supportive and calming postures.
Yoga also supports the endocrine system, which includes the thyroid, ovaries, and adrenals, all of which can pose problems to our fertility if they are out of whack. Plus it can greatly reduce stress and the amount of cortisol in our bodies.
In a study by Dr. Alice Domar at Harvard Medical School, women struggling with fertility had levels of anxiety and depression on par with those diagnosed with a terminal disease. That’s a lot of stress, which certainly doesn’t help our fertility, and it can spiral into a vicious cycle. Yoga for Fertility allows our bodies to tap into the relaxation response, decreasing our levels of stress and anxiety. By focusing on mindfulness, we also help reduce negative thinking, which can have major physiological impacts on the body as well.
Yoga for Fertility also helps us slow down and balance the yin and yang aspects of our lives. In Chinese Medicine, the yang is active, masculine energy, which most of us have too much of in our lives as we run around with our endless to-do lists (read: stress). Cultivating slower, feminine yin energy can help many of us bring our bodies back into a natural state of balance and increase our life force energy or qi (prana in Ayurveda). If we have depleted our life force energy, our bodies will certainly struggle to bring new life into the world. Yoga for Fertility helps us bring everything back into balance and provides the tools to deal with difficulties on an emotional level as well.
I am passionate about working in the emotional spaces that yoga opens up, allowing us to access and improve our mental/ emotional wellbeing through our physical bodies. Using poses, breath, and guided visualizations, I aim to create a safe space for women reconnect with their bodies, and connect with others who understand their experiences.
If you are struggling with fertility, please join me. If you aren’t, chances are you know someone who is, so spread the word, and help reduce the isolation and silence surrounding fertility challenges.
Upcoming classes: (6-week series)
- Wednesdays, March 11th- April 15th, 6:00-7:15pm,
- Mandala Healing Community, 1618 W Colorado Ave
- Cost $120, Early bird $100
- Info and register at www.FertilityYogaColorado.com
Kate Potvin, ERYT, first came to the mat in 2004 and immediately loved the rich dialogue she discovered between her body and mind. It was this discovery that led Kate to pursue her Certification in Positive Psychology (CiPP) and study holistic health at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Kate believes in the healing power of yoga and brings a sense of depth and calm to her classes. She specializes in fertility and restorative yoga, although she also loves to turn up the heat in power vinyasa. She currently teaches workshops, teacher trainings, and weekly classes in the Colorado Springs area. You can visit Kate at her website, www.katepotvin.com for more info!