Last Sunday, I took a trip across London to attend an Aviva Method Workshop in High Street Kensington. It took everything in me to make the journey but it was well worth it. The Aviva Method consists of 18 natural fertility regulating exercises. I found out about the class when Aviva Method started following my blog and I figured £35 for a 2.5-3 hour class was worth the investment. Especially since I want to improve my fertility naturally. Apparently the Aviva Method is well known in Israel and Hungary.
The workshop: meeting Sofia
On my way there I felt sceptical and wondered whether this was just another make money out of infertiles scheme but as soon as I met our teacher Sofia, all my doubts disappeared. She began the class by telling us her story and how she struggled with PCOS until she started practicing the Aviva Method and how it even led to her falling pregnant.
We began the class by identifying the ‘working zone’ – an area that I found by doing what I call a lap dance move. This involved standing with bent knees, tightening the lower abdomen and rolling my butt and hips forward and backwards. Mr. Husbands would like this! There are other ways to find it but that’s what worked for me. Once you’ve found the area, you know what to focus on and what to tighten during the exercises.
During the class Sofia took us through the 18 exercises and gave us a copy of the book & music CD (which costs £14). We were lucky as there were only two of us in the class so we could go through the exercises slowly. The pace of the music matches each exercise to help you find the rhythm and keep the right tempo. I particularly enjoyed Exercise 3 known as Zorba (Greek dancing is fun) and did question my sanity during Exercise 12 known as the Monkey Walk! The exercises not only focus on blood flow and strengthening the working zone but also on the hypothalamus for hormones.
As Sofia says, this isn’t just exercise, this is a lifestyle change and needs long term dedication. It involves shifting to an alkalizing diet and she gave us pH tests to see where we are on the scale. Since I’ve already started making changes, it took everything in me when I got home to not order pH tests and obsess over it. After the class, Sofia sent us some info on the pH diet and lifestyle. She also stressed that we need to keep our feet and bodies warm – something that my acupuncturist often stresses too.
The after effect
Later that night, I felt a sharp pain around my left ovary. It was so intense that the drive home was seriously uncomfortable. Those who follow this blog know that this month I’ve struggled with an anovulatory cycle. I attended the workshop on day 22 of my cycle and ovulation hadn’t occurred at all. The next day I went for my smear test and the nurse said, ‘So, you’re still bleeding?’ I shook my head. The intermenstrual bleeding took place on Day 14 – the blood had cleared up. I thought to myself, ‘Oh the class definitely did something.. maybe it was a cyst’ – women with cysts have bled after doing the exercises before. I thought nothing of it.
Then today the nice people at Duo Fertility contacted to tell me they that though I have had an ‘unusual cycle’ this month, they identified that I ovulated on the Sunday I went to the workshop! I’ve slowly been learning the exercises at home and I do feel a little different down there afterwards. I think I need a few more months for this to really kick in. I have a strange positive feeling about these exercises and so I’m going to push on with them.
How difficult are the exercises?
The class itself for me was challenging as my stamina is poor right now. I think the average woman would be able to keep up quite well. It would have helped if I had gone for a few yoga classes beforehand to stretch out and to strengthen my core. Many of the moves are similar to what you’d do during a belly dancing warm. I definitely felt like I’d worked out and stretched areas that I didn’t know existed. My tush was absolutely killing the next day.
Are the exercises safe for each part of my cycle when TTC?
Certain exercises require tapping your heels on the floor or strong squats. Sofia explained that during the second half of the cycle, unless you want your period to come, to avoid those moves and showed us alternative ways to do them.
Can the exercises work for men too?
The book says:
The 18 exercises of the Simple Method are also beneficial for male dysfunctions. There are specific exercises developed for men, described in Volume II, which are suitable for healing prostrate complaints, erectile dysfunction, and for regulating bowel movements… Apart from their positive effects on prostate and potency related problems, these exercises will also increase sperm vitality.
I’d recommend contacting Sofia for more information on this.
What happens after the class?
It’s going to take at least a month or two to learn all 18 exercises. Every few days I practice 3-4 exercises. Once I’m confident with all 18, the aim is to work out twice a week – each session lasting only 30minutes. Sofia holds refresher lessons so I think by September I’ll be returning to make sure I’m doing it right and to just meet others who are using the exercises. Unfortunately, there isn’t a DVD but maybe that’s a good thing because it forces you to learn it.