Book Review: Yoga and Fertility by Petigara & Jensen

I was excited to receive my copy of Yoga and Fertility: A Journey to Health and Healing by Jill Petigara and Lynn Jensen. Although the retail price is $21.95, it is available for a significant discount on Amazon at the moment in both hard copy and Kindle format. After taking some time to read through the book, I can safely say that it is the best yoga & fertility text that I have seen so far.  And since I’m currently in the process of filming my fertility yoga series, I’ve read through most (all?) of what’s available.

Highlights

This text provides specific routines for use during menstruation, the first half of your cycle and post-ovulation and provides a basic and intermediate routine for both pre/post ovulation. Each flow is introduced with an overview containing only pictures/titles of each asana, so the reader can complete a practice without a lot of extraneous text. After the overview, there is a longer description of how to perform each asana (pose), as well as why that particular pose is important/effective for fertility and any warnings or things to look out for.  The text also includes overall hints about how to adapt a “regular” yoga class if needed, as well as sections on yoga during assisted reproduction (e.g. IVF) and meditation/breathwork to support fertility. You’ll also find the standard background information about how to do yoga, why it may be beneficial for fertility and a section containing case studies.

 

I love that the routines are specific to phases of the menstrual cycle, and that there are options for beginning students and those who are more advanced. The pictures are clear and helpful, and each pose is described clearly & concisely. Both authors have practical experience teaching fertility yoga as well as relevant personal experiences, and I think the text reflects this. The writing is both warm and caring without being overly cheerful or excessively clinical – two of my most common complaints about fertility-related books.

Drawbacks

There aren’t many! If you already have a strong yoga practice and years of experience, this text may not be a great buy. Most of the routines are based on the standard asanas (cat/cow, downward-facing dog, pigeon, bridge, child’s pose, etc) and you will probably already be familiar with the benefits of each pose and when to avoid specific poses. That being said, it’s always nice to have ideas and guidelines to follow.

 

My only other – very small! – complaint is that the authors venture somewhat outside of their realm of expertise to offer nutritional advice in a very short chapter at the end. While I do believe that most of the advice is sound and probably beneficial to many students, I also question whether it is truly necessary to include it. I don’t know that the subject can be done justice in a short chapter – why not just stick to the yoga and leave the nutrition advice to other texts and experts that can devote adequate time and space to this complex issue?

 

In general I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with fertility, including those going through IVF and those who are trying naturally. It’s full of solid information that is not available elsewhere in such a concise and complete package.

Camille

Hi there. I’m Camille. I’m an associate professor at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, where I teach physiology and pathophysiology. I’m also a licensed nutritionist, specializing in fertility and reproductive health. (I’m not taking any new clients!) Lastly but not leastly, I’m a mom, a gardener and a really horrible housekeeper.

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