Yoga Mama

Yogi Lauren Hanna explains how a gentle daily practice, along with a nutrient-packed diet and a home detox, helped her achieve pregnancy in her mid 40s.
Photo by Michael Lumi

When I started doing yoga 30 years ago, it was not the power exercise it is today, although it has always been a deeply spiritual experience. In 2001, I opened my studio, Sonic Yoga, in New York City ( Soon after, I faced my life’s greatest hurdle: having a baby at 40. I’d wanted children since I was little, and the clock was ticking. My partner and I started trying to conceive. After a year, we still weren’t pregnant. Doctors tell us women in our 40s our eggs are no longer viable. We’re labeled “old.” Fertility doctors offer solutions, and I tried everything. Still, I could not get pregnant. My fiancé and I separated; now I was also coping with a breakup. Complete surrender.

I rented a house in Montauk, and processed my anger and grief. Then, I fell in love. He wanted a baby, so I told him, I’m 44, I can’t get pregnant. “Of course you can,” he said. Making a conscious decision to try again naturally, I altered my daily yoga practice to a more lunar flow, conscious of staying gentle and receptive in all methods of exercise. I practiced an Ayurvedic daily routine of optimal sleep, self-massage, pranayama (yogic breathing), mantra, meditation, visualization and prayer. To my diet I added more antioxidants, superfoods and healthy fats, limiting refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, GMOs and pesticides; I also switched from fragrance-based products with harmful phthalates to ones with organic essential oils, and replaced all plastic food and water storage containers with glass ones. The most important adjustment was lowering my stress and connecting to my bliss. At 45, I got pregnant with my beautiful daughter, Jaya. Today she is 8, and I’m 54.

I share everything I’ve learned with my “sacred mamas,” clients who take my Sacred Fertility Yoga Workshop (July 14, 2-5PM at Amagansett’s Mandala Yoga, plus her Six Steps to Sacred Fertility online webinars and private Skype sessions). A Harvard study found that women who were provided with psychological interventions like yoga and meditation were nearly three times more likely to conceive. But it’s not just doing the asanas, it’s walking the yogic path. I first sensed my daughter’s presence before she was born, during deep meditation. I felt her, talked to her. It was a profound turning point: I was no longer this crazed woman on a fertility mission. I was the healthy, relaxed mother Jaya wanted. Yoga helped bring my baby to me. —Julia Szabo