Planning your wedding will help you feel the love, but it may also bring on some serious stress. Sure, it's fun to try on lace- and bead-covered wedding dresses and choose pretty blooms, but with endless decisions to make and to-do lists to complete, it's perfectly fine to admit that planning what will be the happiest day of your life means getting a few anxiety-packed ones.
Although it's normal to feel that way, wedding planning doesn't have to carry a stress sentence, insists Lilia Karimi. Taking note of how many women feel an unusual amount of pressure during the planning process, the yoga instructor and bride-to-be (she'll wed this summer!) decided to launch wedwell, a company that offers yoga sessions and downloadable wellness guides meant to help brides feel confident. "To stay sane throughout moments of stress," suggests Karimi, "embrace a meditation and yoga practice to bring a deeper sense of calm into this time of your life."
All you need, says the expert yogi, is five minutes, a relaxing space and her guide to (sorry!) om-azingness.
"What better way to perpetuate feelings of love than by checking in with your heart center?" the pro ask. This practice, she notes, can help you focus on all the exciting emotions of your engagement.
Try it: Find a comfortable seat and actively lengthen your spine so you find your best posture. Close your eyes. Bring your awareness to your heart. Notice the expansion of your heart and breath with every inhale. As you exhale, feel the breath moving out of the heart.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Though Karimi admits this move requires "some hand-eye coordination," it provides an instant calming sensation: "This breath provides the body with energy, cleanses your lungs from stale air, and sends a message to your nervous system to relax."
Try it: Bring your index finger and middle finger in between your eyebrows. Hold your thumb over your right nostril, and inhale through your left nostril. Once you breathe all the way up for five breaths, close down your left nostril with your fourth finger, and breathe out the right nostril for five breaths. Breathe back in the right, and exhale out the other nostril. It sounds complicated, but it's simple—just breathe back in the same nostril that you just exhaled.
Rather than feed your brain a constant stream of negative messages (see: "I'm so stressed; I hate wedding planning,") Karimi recommends repeating a positive word or phrase for minutes at a time. Doing so, she says, "helps you reprogram your brain and trick yourself into a positive mindset!"
Try it: Close your eyes and sit comfortably. As you inhale, repeat to yourself "I am love." On your exhale, repeat "I am calm." Do this for at least five minutes and notice the difference in your mood.
A "simple and soothing" yoga move, this popular pose "will relax your upper body muscles, while gently stretching the muscles on the back of your torso," says Karimi, adding it's a perfect stretch for pre-bedtime "or when you need a break from planning."
Try it: Kneeling on your mat (or another soft surface), take your knees wider than your hips, and gently send the hips back to your heels. Stretch arms out in front of you, gently close your eyes, and take ten slow inhales and exhales.
Along with bringing circulation throughout the body and giving a mild stretch to the thighs and groins, says Karimi, this yoga pose helps you bring awareness to your breath, which can help you "find a calm center amidst any wedding chaos."
Try it: Start by laying on your back with feet together and knees open. From here you can place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your heart. Connect with your breath and feelings of love. Feel your hips start to open and embrace the release of muscle tension and stress slipping out of your body.