If you have trouble conceiving, the road to parenthood can be long and lonely indeed. But for those who live in Chicago, hope is nearby. A group of like-minded women are finding solace and support at Pulling Down the Moon (PDTM), a holistic studio geared specifically for people facing the challenges of infertility. During a six-week course, students learn physical and mental techniques, such as asanas that increase blood flow to the pelvic region and meditation exercises that open reproductive energy channels in the body. "Many of the women who come to our classes have very low self-esteem. They think their bodies aren't working properly," says Tami Quinn, the center's cofounder (with yoga teacher Beth Heller) and the mother of seven-year-old twins. "They come to yoga seeking something; many times they're not even sure what."
Anne Coon, a bank executive and the mother of a three-year-old daughter, found the companionship and Vedantic philosophies particularly inspiring. A yoga novice, Coon was referred to PDTM after three rounds of in vitro fertilization treatment for a second child proved unsuccessful. "I was devastated. Wanting something so badly and not being able to have it is a very frustrating feeling," she recalls. "The class allowed me take back some of that control by doing something positive and proactive. When I'd start to get very emotional, I was able to use what I'd learned and think, 'This moment is going to pass; it's going to be fine.'"
Though the mind-body classes aren't about becoming pregnant per se, they often do have a happy outcome: Coon, for example, became pregnant with her second child last year.
Jennifer Pirtle writes about health, fitness, and nutrition for Health, Fitness, Woman's Day, and many other publications.