Even the most laid-back brides find planning a wedding stressful at some point. Consider squeezing the ancient practice of yoga into your hectic schedule and breathe in the benefits.
Reconnect and release stress
New Orleans yoga instructor Brooke LeBourgeois with Reyn Studios says she loves working with brides. The mood-enhancing and stress-busting practice is known to help people cultivate resilience and better manage the stresses and strains of daily life.
“[Brides] are always working so hard and dealing with so many different things, they often feel fragmented, scattered and depleted,” says LeBourgeois. “Yoga helps them calm down and reconnect with themselves again and how much they love their intended and are looking forward to being married.”
With the pressure to focus on the external, such as the dress, the makeup, the flowers and so on, LeBourgeois says yoga can bring brides back to their inner world and help them work through their emotions.
“We do this by releasing the stress and tensions we hold in our body with poses that stretch and empty it out,” says LeBourgeois. “We store stress in our bodies and women hold it particularly in their hips so we have to open up and actively release it. Add to it that most of us spend our days hunched up at a desk, which constricts breathing in our chests.”
By aligning our bodies through our stretches, it enables us to use the full capacity of our lungs and when we breathe more softly and deeply, it calms our minds and relaxes our bodies,” she says. “It’s wonderful to know that my brides not only feel lighter and happier at the end of the sessions but the calmness and connectedness they feel will have a lasting effect to help them deal with hitches or glitches when they inevitably pop up.”
Pre-wedding nerves buster
Yoga is also a powerful weapon against wedding jitters and over-stimulation on the day of the big event. LeBourgeois recommends these three quick and simple poses. “First, ground yourself through your feet to settle nerves, then open your chest and your heart to receive all the love and finally lighten and calm your mind so you can be fully present in every moment,” she says. Then, follow these steps:
1. Ground Yourself:
Standing with feet hip width apart (about two fists side by side), start to pick up your toes and land them back down. Feel all four corners of your feet, even feel the arches in your feet lifting. Make sure you are standing perpendicular to your ankles. You don’t want your tailbone to be too tucked or too tilted but somewhere in the middle. Pull your ribs back in and then release your shoulders by picking them up and then gently rolling them back and letting them fall. Soften your jaw, and slowly start to breathe in and out through your nose. Gently, lengthen your breath, trying to match the length of the inhale with the length of the exhale. Stay here for five full cycles of breath.
2. Empty Your Mind:
Inhale as you raise your arms up. As you exhale take your arms out wide and gently bend your knees as you fold forward. Hold your elbows in your forward bend and let the weight of your arms help extend your spine downward. Release the tension in your neck by dropping the crown of your head towards the ground. Remain in a forward bend for a minimum of three breath cycles. Bring your hands to your sacrum and push down as you slowly rise up to standing.
3. Open Your Heart:
Fully extend your arms overhead, palms facing one another. Inhale into your chest, gaze upward, as you exhale begin to move your arms back past your ears. Slowly look up between your fingertips and grow into a standing backbend for three full breaths. Inhale, lifting your chest and gaze, then exhale directing your chest and arms slowly and gently back.
This article originally published in the Winter 2018 issue of New Orleans Bride Magazine.