It's no secret that the wedding planning process can be equal parts joyous and stressful. Yoga is an effective way to destress while toning muscles in time for your big day.
Vyda Bielkus, co-founder of Health Yoga Life in Boston, suggests practicing five to six times a week if your aim is to gain more significant physical changes in your body (i.e. toned upper back and shoulders). This will also create the most mood-boosting results.
For extra busy brides, Bielkus suggests taking the time to practice once to twice a week get the stress reduction benefits, as well as a little extra strength in the core area of the body, which helps with posture–great for photos.
Begin your journey to a stress-free, toned wedding with the workout below.
1. Child Pose
Kneel on the floor, bring your big toes to touch. Separate your knees and draw your hips over your heels, bringing your torso and forehead to the floor. Arms can remain by the side of your body or can stretch out in front of you. It’s a wonderful pose to connect with yourself and just take a pause.
2. Downward Dog
Create an inverted V with your body. Place your hands at the front of your mat with your feet toward the back. It’s fine for the heels to lift slightly. This pose will work the entire body, and tones the back, arms, and legs.
3. Down Dog Ab Curl
From Downward Dog, extend the right leg up, curl the right knee toward your nose, then extend back up into the air. Repeat five times. Switch to the left leg. Repeat five times. The curl adds a nice abdominal toner.
4. Warrior II
From Downward Dog, step your right foot forward. Spin your back heel down. Stack your right knee over your ankle. Extend the arms front to back. Breath deep and free, hold for about 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Terrific for arms, abs, and legs.
5. Happy Frog
Start in a squat position, with your heels pointing in and your toes pointing out. Heels should be lifted off the ground. Place your fingers on the floor in front of you and inhale and straighten your legs, keeping your fingers on the ground if possible. As you exhale, return to the squatting position. Aim for 26 reps, or 13 if you’re a beginner. This is a super leg toner and gets the heart pumping.
Stand on the right leg. Pick up and place your left foot to the inner edge of the right thigh, or below the right knee. Bring hands in prayer to the center of your heart. Breathe in and out for about five cycles. Switch sides. This pose tones the legs and core body. Focus on lengthening from the crown of the head through the bottom of the standing leg. Great pose for elongating posture.
7. Side Plank
Start in a high plank. Spin your heels to the right. Stack your feet one on top of the other, lifting the hips up. Bring your left arm up toward the ceiling. If this is too challenging bring your right knee underneath you. Great for core, legs, and arms.
8. Plank with shoulder toner bonus
Bring yourself to a forearm plank. Hold for one minute. Rest a moment, then repeat. If you want a challenge, inhale while bringing your hips up as if in downward dog, then exhale while returning to starting position, repeating 12 times. Super for core and shoulders.
Lie on your belly. Arms by your sides, palm facing down. Lift the legs, ches,t and arms up. Hold and breathe for a few cycles. This pose strengthens the back body, legs, hips, and also supports posture. Repeat three times.
10. Bridge Pose
Lie on your back, placing your feet flat on the mat with knees bent. Lay your arms by your sides and lift your hips up. If you can, interlace your hands underneath you. This helps open up the neck, chest, and back. It revitalizes the spine and reduces fatigue and anxiety. Great for toning the hips and legs.
11. Supine Twist
Lie on your back and draw your right knee in, taking it over the left side of your body. Draw the right arm out like a wing and turn your head to the right. Take three-to-five deep breaths and switch sides. This stretch provides a lot of release for the back.
Lie on your back with your spine straight, arms extend by your sides, palms face up. Close your eyes. Stay for three-to-five minutes. Totally let go. Wonderfully relaxing. Perfect body-mind reset.