Practicing yoga on your wedding day brings harmony to your body, mind and spirit amidst all of the chaos of last minute wedding preparations. It provides an opportunity for the bride, bridesmaids, mothers and aunts to share a special moment before the festivities and guarantees that each person will feel rejuvenated, balanced, and centered for the day’s festivities.
How does yoga rejuvenate, balance and center?
Yoga unites the body and mind and can bring balance and a sense of calm when practiced correctly and regularly. Some yoga postures are more relaxing than others, but even the challenging postures can bring relaxation as we learn to work though discomfort. The focus we apply on the mat helps us cope with stressful situations by balancing the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS).
Our SNS is responsible for our fight-or-flight response to stressors and when stimulated it releases stress hormones (including cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine), increases heart rate and respiration, increases blood pressure and blood sugar, suppresses the immune system, slows digestion, and causes loss of hearing and auditory function. In today’s world we are constantly being stimulated and bombarded with information, noise, work, etc. and we live in a state of heightened arousal and chronic stress.
Our PNS, on the other hand, stimulates our rest and digest response. It slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases intestinal and glandular activity, and relaxes the sphincter muscles. Yoga’s combination of asana practice, breathing exercises and meditation can stimulate the PNS and bring harmony and balance to the nervous system.
These are my favorite postures for wedding day relaxation:
1. Balasana aka Child’s Pose
This restful yoga pose helps develop an inward focus by drawing attention to the breath and allowing the mind to be still. This posture also creates space in the lower back and can also be a gentle shoulder and upper back opener.
2. Trikonasana aka Triangle Pose
Triangle pose provides an intense lateral stretch to the side body while alleviating anxiety, reducing mental stress, building focus and developing willpower. This posture also helps improve digestion and circulation, increases muscular endurance and may relieve symptoms of sciatica.
3. Ardha Matsyendrasana aka Half Spinal Twist
This posture brings peace of mind while massaging the vertebrae of the spine and increasing suppleness of the spine.
4. Dhanurasana aka Bow Pose
This intense backbend can bring internal balance and harmony. Bow pose also strengthens concentration and mental determination, enhances elasticity of the spine, massages the internal organs and strengthens the core muscles. Backbends tend to also be energizing and invigorating, so they are best done early in the day.
5. Halasana aka Plough
Plough pose is a variation of shoulder stand, it’s an intense forward bend and an inversion; it enhances physical and mental relaxation, develops inner balance and mental poise. Halasana also improves circulation, massages internal organs, and can relieve cervical and shoulder tension.
6. Savasana aka Corpse Pose
Savasana reduces stress, mild depression, and anxiety, calms and centers the mind, reduces fatigue, lowers blood pressure, and relaxes & rejuvenates the body. This posture can be done anytime of day for any amount of time.
7. Salamba Setu Bandha Sarvangasana aka Supported Bridge Pose
Bridge pose and it’s many variations open the heart, increase circulation to the digestive and reproductive organs, and reduce stress, mild depression and anxiety. This backbend is gentler than some of the others like Camel Pose or Wheel Pose and can be done as a restorative posture by placing a bolster underneath the hips.
8. Reclining Bound-Angle Pose Supta Baddha Konasana
Supta Baddha Konasana is probably my favorite pose, and it’s no wonder why the benefits are endless: draws the senses inward, relieves mild depression, anxiety and stress, opens the chest and heart chakra, opens the groins, improves digestion and circulation, promotes reproductive health and relieves fatigue and headaches. This pose always helps me relax and get centered no matter how emotional or stressed my day was.
9. Supta Padangusthasana aka Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose
This gentle stretch for the hamstrings and lower back helps calm the mind, relieve stress, improve digestion, and increases flexibility of hips, calves, thighs, and psoas.
10. Simhasana aka Lion
Okay, this one looks silly, but you’re face will thank you afterward. Simhasana relieves jaw tension, improves blood flow to the brain, increases circulation to the eyes and throat, clears nasal and ear passages, and reduces stress, anxiety and mild depression.
11. Upavista Konasana aka Open-Angle Pose
Upavista Konasana soothes the nervous system and relieves stress, anxiety and mild depression. It’s also great for opening the hips, groins and shoulders, stimulating the digestive and reproductive systems, and increasing circulation to the liver and kidneys.
12. Uttanasana Standing Forward Bend
This moderate forward bend, when done safely can soothe the nervous system and relieve stress, anxiety and mild depression.
It is important to find a experienced yoga teacher to show you the proper way to warm up for these postures and the proper alignment once you’re in the postures to prevent injury. Before beginning a new exercise program please consult your doctor.
Ambuja Yoga offers Beginner’s Yoga Series‘ in Bend, Oregon and Wedding Wellness Yoga Packages throughout Oregon. Wedding day yoga is a great way to relax and unwind with friends and family before the festivities of the day begin. After your wedding day yoga session you will feel relaxed, rejuvenated and centered. Book your Wedding Day Yoga today!!!