It’s your wedding day! So much excitement and love in the air. It’s finally here and you can’t wait. Yet you still feel like you have so much to do and so much to think about. You’re wondering if all the details are in place, just the way you planned them.
Now is a time to trust that everything is as it should be. Now is the time to carve a few quiet moments to yourself before you embark on an amazing day and a new life journey.
We have photographed literally, hundreds of weddings. We have photographed elaborate and elegant big wedding affairs in ballrooms. We have photographed small beach weddings with just a circle of family. We’ve photographed anywhere and everywhere, all over the world. And with a myriad of traditions, cultures and carefully planned details involved.
We know how you’re feeling. And a common thread we have noticed over the years was the complete exhaustion felt by the couple by the end of the day.
We decided to find a better way to help our couples truly enjoy their big day. We were then lucky enough to photograph a Turks & Caicos wedding that began with wedding day yoga. Then we photographed a Charleston wedding for an internationally renowned yoga teacher. And a Canada wedding of world traveling yoga teacher, MacKenzie Miller. Both of those, of course, began the day with yoga. We noticed something about these couples. These brides and grooms were not as stressed as our others. In fact, they left their morning yoga sessions with big grins and relaxed vibes like we’d never seen. They floated through the day on a cloud, and truly enjoyed every second. Not to mention their flexibility and stamina on the reception dance floor later in the night!
So we’re here to tell you, this is the important detail that you mustn’t forget to include in your wedding planning. A wedding day yoga class complete with wedding yoga poses specifically chosen with the bride and groom in mind.
We asked Portland yoga teacher, Liz Wilson, to prepare a grounding and energizing wedding day yoga sequence. For you, our current and future wedding couples. Liz has prepared several yoga poses that you can do altogether, or pick and choose what will be best for you. Invite your wedding party. Invite your close friends and family. Or just simply be alone and enjoy the solitude.
Before you walk down the aisle, give yourself this time. Give yourself this gift. The gift of quiet breaths, relaxing stretches and strengthening postures. Congratulations!
Scroll down to see all or click here to jump straight to a pose: Seated Meditation, Seated Side Stretch, Downward Facing Dog, Plank Pose, Side Plank, Triangle Pose, Cactus Arms Lunge, Sun Salutation, Headstand, Child’s Pose, Supta Baddha Konasana
How to do Seated Meditation
Allow this yoga pose to be just a few moments of quiet in the craziness of your wedding day, to find some peace amidst the chaos. Find a comfortable seat. You can be sitting back on your heels or or seated with your legs crossed.
Close your eyes. Take a big breath in through the nose and exhale out through the mouth. Now, with the mouth closed, shift your focus solely to your breath. Follow your inhales through your nose, sending the breath down into the belly and then exhaling out from the belly and back out through the nose. If thoughts appear, let them drift aside and refocus on your breath once again.
On your wedding day, your mind will be thinking of a thousand little details. Or you are overcome with excitement for the fun events to come. This is where wedding day meditation can be your friend.
Here’s another way to try and keep my mind present. Focus on your spine. Imagine a light at your tailbone. As you inhale that light travels up your spine to the crown of your head, maybe helping you sit taller. As you exhale, that light travels back down to your tailbone, grounding you into the mat and relaxing your hips.
This grounding meditation technique will prepare you for all that’s to come in the hours that follow. You can even use this technique to return to the focus of the breath right before your wedding ceremony and find some calm before you walk down the aisle.
If you have knee discomfort in this pose, grab a pillow to sit on. This will elevate your hips and take pressure off the knees. The goal is to sit as comfortably as possible so that you don’t have to move or fidget in the middle of the session.
Try to stay here for as little as 3 minutes and up to 10-20 depending on you feel.
Lastly, have your wedding party join you in this meditation, or perhaps your close family or a friend. Join together for this wedding day yoga meditation to calm the nerves and envision a beautiful day and new life ahead.
How to do Seated Side Stretch:
A nice, easy opening stretch for the morning of your wedding day. Great for any age, and any level of yoga experience. As always, take some invigorating breaths as you stretch it out.
Start at a comfortable seated position. Place your right hand down next to your right hip and reach your left arm up overhead. Start to walk your right hand out to the right as your extend from your left hip though your left hand over to the right. You might be able to bring your right elbow towards the mat, but keep rooted down on the mat. Shift the gaze where it’s comfortable on the neck. Hold for a few rounds of breath and switch sides.
How to do Downward Facing Dog:
Downward facing dog, also called downdog, can be a little bit of everything for you. The first time you get into the pose, your body might be tight and it might feel very difficult. The more you move, the more restorative this posture is. It helps open the hamstrings, calves, low back, and shoulders. It also builds heat in the quads, shoulders, and core, and is technically an inversion!
So if you are looking to combine some strength and relaxation into your wedding day yoga poses, mix downward facing dog with the restorative poses for a complete balance.
From child’s pose, plank, or all fours, plant your hands with your wrists directly under your shoulders. Tuck your toes behind you, and straighten your legs as you send your hips high to the sky. Walk your toes in or out to find a comfortable V position for you. You are essentially forming an inverted V-position with your head down and hips high.
Spread your fingers wide and keep your wrist creases parallel to the top of the mat. This keeps wrists and shoulders safe. Relax your neck so that your ears rest between your biceps. Press the mat away with your hands, sending energy through the hips to the sky, and engage your low belly in towards your spine. Press through your heels down towards the mat. They may not touch, but that’s totally ok! Keep a little micro-bend in the knees and hug your quads up in towards you. Remember to bend your knees as much as you need to and adjust the length of your down dog to fit your body.
Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths. Perhaps doing another pose and returning to downward facing dog again if you would like more. Down dog improves every time so if you’re looking for a little workout, challenge yourself to repeat this pose a few times during your morning wedding yoga practice.
How to do Plank Pose:
One of the BEST ways to build shoulder and core strength! From tabletop, align your shoulders over your wrists. Step your feet to the back of the mat, and press through the heels to fire up your legs. You are a straight line from the crown of the head all the way through the heels. Find the happy medium between hammocking the hips down towards the mat and tenting them up to the ceiling. Tuck the tailbone slightly to hug in even more through the low belly.
To modify drop the knees to the mat.
Like down dog, feel free to repeat or exchange this pose between down dog and back. And again, if you’re getting ready with your future spouse, maybe challenge each other to hold plank. Laugh if you fall, and enjoy the time to be healthy together before you get married! Just be careful you don’t wear yourselves out too much. You’re going to need your energy for the big day ahead!
How to do Side Plank:
Let the core continue! Here’s a pose for our brides or grooms that love core work and want to build those wedding day muscles before the honeymoon!
From high plank, bring your right hand underneath your shoulder. Roll to the outside edge of your right foot and stack your left foot on top. Stack your left hip and left shoulder on top of the right and extend your left hand high to the sky. Lift the hips.
For more fire, lift the left foot to hover over the right. It could be 2 inches or 2 feet high.
To modify, drop the right knee or drop the right forearm to the mat.
Repeat on the opposite side, holding for 3-5 breaths each side.
How to do Triangle Pose:
Triangle is a great pose to accomplish a hip opener, a hamstring, a low back stretch, and a side-body strengthener- all in one. It’s also a really grounding posture, which can help with any anxious energy.
Start in Warrior 2. Straighten your front knee, keeping your back hip open. Start to shift your torso forward, keeping your ribs and shoulders stacked. Once you’ve reached forward as far as you can, start to reach your hand down towards your shin. It might touch, or you might want to grab a block (or your water bottle) to rest your hand on. Your top hip will want to roll down and your bottom butt cheek will want to stick out. It’s super important to not roll your top shoulder and hip down or crunch your bottom ribs just to reach the shin or the floor. Imagine you’re stuck between two panes of glass about to go under a microscope; that’s how stacked your hips, ribs, and shoulders are. Hold for a few breaths and switch sides.
How to do Cactus Arms Lunge:
One of the complaints we hear more from our brides and grooms on their wedding day, is the tension they feel in their shoulders. This is a fantastic pose to stretch and strengthen the legs, while opening up the chest and shoulders. Go ahead and say, “ahhhh” while you’re in this yoga pose. It makes it even better.
Start in a low lunge, with your front knee lined up over the ankle and your back knee down on the mat. If you have knee problems, you can always roll your mat or a towel under the knee for additional padding. Or take the legs out of this pose and just sit comfortably while doing the cactus arm stretch.
Inhale and reach your arms up overhead, followed by your exhale and sink down into the hips. This is a great place to stay if you’re feeling tight. You have a great hip opener and backbend right here.
To take it a little deeper into the heart, bend your elbows to 90-degrees like goal posts. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and start to reach the heart high away from the hips. Your gaze might start to track up to the sky. It’s very important not to crunch the lumbar spine here. Keep finding length in the spine on your inhales, and use that space to deepen on the exhales. Keep the belly engaged the whole time to protect the spine, and tuck the tailbone slightly to add length to the low back and hug the low belly in. Remember, you can back out a little bit if you need to and still get plenty from this pose.
How to do Sun Salutation:
A sun salutation is a terrific way to get to blood pumping and circulating on the morning of your wedding. Some might say that no wedding day yoga is complete without a round of two of sun salutations. This flowing posture series is especially fun in a group of bridesmaids or groomsmen, where you will all remember moving and grooving together in yoga before moving and grooving together on the dance floor!
Start standing at the top of your mat with your arms resting down by your sides.
Inhale and reach your arms up overhead. Then exhale and forward fold over your legs. Inhale to lift your torso half way up.
Reach the crown of your head forward with a flat back, perhaps placing hands to shins or knees for comfort, and on your exhale, plant your hands in front of you and step back to a high plank.
Inhale and press forward on your toes in your plank, then exhale lower to half push-up (also referred to as chaturanga) or set the knees down and lower all the way to the belly with the tops of the feet flat on the mat.
Inhale to create upward facing dog (thighs lifted from the mat) or a cobra pose (thighs remain rested down) and finally, exhale back to downward facing dog. Take a few breaths in downdog.
To complete your sun salutation, inhale and rise up onto the toes. Shift your gaze forward to your hands and exhale to walk or step your feet to meet your hands at the top of the mat. Inhale with your halfway lift again and exhale into a nice forward fold.
Finally, take a nice big inhale to reach the arms out and all the way up overhead, retuning to a standing posture where you will now exhale and release hands down by the hips.
Repeat 3-5 times or as many as desired. Sun salutations can serve as a moving meditation on your wedding day. Once you have the movements down, allow your mind to shut off and just focus on pairing your breath with your movements. Even though you’re moving quite a bit with this flow, and can speed it up to build some heat, each breath should be long and drawn out.
How to do Headstand:
We only recommend this pose if have done it before and are already comfortable upside down and on your head. Please don’t attempt if this is your first time! But if you’re experienced in headstand, here’s a few reason why it could be fun on your wedding day! Inversions allow the blood to flow in the opposite direction, literally flipping your perspective upside down and getting rejuvenated. They are fun and empowering and a great way to amp up your energy!
If you are not doing headstand, a nice alternative would be to stretch your legs up a nearby wall and just chill out!
For this advanced posture, have a wall or a spotter behind you, or make sure you feel comfortable rolling out into a somersault. Sitting back on your heels, start by interlacing your fingers together and planting your forearms on the mat. Draw your bottom pinky in to run parallel next to the other. Place the crown of your head in the little pocket of your hands and tuck the toes and lift the hips high to the sky. Press evenly into the forearms and top of the head. Make sure you drag your shoulders away from your ears, avoiding crunching the neck. Everybody has a happy spot on their head so that their neck is in even, straight alignment. You might need to play around a little to find it.
You could stay here. You get the benefits of an inversion (aligning hips over your heart over your head) without lifting the feet off the ground. If you want to play, start by lifting one foot in the air and then the other, getting the sensation of lifting your feet off the mat. Then draw one knee into your chest, and then the other. You’re in a little headstand tuck here, so keep making sure that you’re engaging your core to lift off the ground rather than momentum from kicking up. If you feel balanced, start to draw your knees up over your hips, and then straighten through the legs. Your spotter will come in handy here, supporting you with their hands to make sure you’re stable.
If you find yourself in the full posture, hooray! You can also rest your feet against the wall behind you at this point. Keep pressing through the feet, hugging inner thighs toward each other, and keep the low belly super engaged. All that core work is paying off now! Hold as long at you’d like here, traditionally 10-15 full breath cycles, but keep some strength available to slowly lower the feet back down with control.
How to do Child’s Pose:
Child’s pose is another great grounding posture, and very restful. We especially recommend this pose if the wedding day stress has become overwhelming and you really need to pause the day and turn inward to breath and relax. Remember, wedding day yoga is an opportunity for you to take time for yourself. So when the stressful moments arise, take a few minutes here in child’s pose to turn back towards what really matters.
From hands and knees, bring big toes together behind you to touch lightly and sit back on your heels. Knees can be together underneath you or as wide as you’d like them depending on how open your hips are. Try to keep your hips resting on your heels and make sure you only feel yummy sensation in the hips and no pain in the knees.
Stretch your arms out in front of you and rest your head on the mat (or a block or pillow if it doesn’t touch the mat). You can also place a rolled up towel or blanket in the crease of your knee joints to alleviate any knee tension. For the most restorative variation, rest your elbows and forearms on the mat. To build a little heat, walk the hands out in front of you so that your elbows lift off the mat and stretch the sides out nice and long.
How to do Supta Baddha Konasana:
Perhaps amongst the wedding planning hustle and bustle, your low back has begun to feel cramped and your hips tight. This wedding day yoga pose will help to relax the muscles and open up so you can let loose on the dance floor later! This is a super grounding posture, and helps to neutralize the low back and open the hips.
Come to lying on your back. Bring soles of the feet together and allow your knees to splay out wide, like butterfly legs. Allow the hands to rest where they feel comfortable: one hand on the belly and one on the heart, down by the hips, or reaching overhead.
Maybe use that breathing technique from your seated meditation to keep the breath deep and even as well as to keep the mind present rather than drifting away.
Stay here for as long as feels comfortable, but recommended 10 breaths to truly enjoy this pose and it’s benefits.
Maybe you and your spouse-to-be are together on your wedding day morning. This is a great one to do together, side by side and maybe join the hands closest to each other. Let your lips curl into a small smile as you breath and relax together before your fun day.
If you have knee discomfort, place two pillow or yoga blocks under each knee. You can also do this pose with your feet flat on the floor and allow the knees to knock in towards each other, resting together as you lay flat and breath.