There are brides of every sort—dramatic bridezillas, those who seem to cruise to their wedding day with not a care in the world, and others who entertain doubts or become a bundle nerves in the weeks and days leading up to their big day. For anyone whose “I do” is causing jitters of any sort, there are healthy ways to deal with them that don’t include stress-eating or binge drinking. Coincidentally, some of them might just make your arms a little more toned for your strapless gown, too.
Love Yoga founders Kyle Miller and Sian Gordon—who count the Olsens as clients and whose burgeoning bicoastal yoga business just expanded with an Echo Park studio on LA’s eastside—have taught plenty of brides right up to their big day. Beyond Michelle Obama arms, “they want to be present enough to enjoy their momenta and not lose their minds getting there,” says Miller. “Yoga is perfect because it’s mind and body, and we give specific techniques for calming oneself down and taking control of the nervous system when it starts to rev out of control.” Here, the inspiring yogis share a few specific wellness techniques to do just that. After all, they say, “when you start getting stressed out, nip it in the bud any way you can. This should be a joyous and beautiful moment in one’s life.” Serenity now.
1. Restorative yoga poses.
While sweaty flow classes might be on the docket leading up to your nuptials, Miller recommends adding in restorative yoga moves such as the supported fish, in which you lie supine over bolsters, supporting the lungs. She advises taking 10 deep, steady breaths, which “soothes the mind by giving the lungs the perfect frame and scaffolding.” Another is legs up the wall, which will especially treat aching feet from pre-wedding events or swollen stems from flying to a destination wedding. “Legs up the wall gently inverts the body, drains swelling, feeds blood to the vital organs and calms the mind,” she says of the pose she suggests holding for at five minutes. For the bride who needs a moment to herself there’s the bent-knee forward fold. It gives her “a moment of quiet peace in her own shell,” says Miller, adding you should start with 10 breaths and build from there as needed.
Breathwork is a super effective and efficient modality that can completely change one’s internal state in just a few minutes of focus. “There is plenty of scientific evidence that calming the breath calms the nervous system,” says Gordon. “Aligning the breath with movement ignites the parasympathetic nervous system, which releases dopamine into the brain and basically makes every system in your body function more smoothly.” Additionally, it’s possible to whip up energy through breathing techniques, and “if you are having a panic attack we can manipulate the breath in the other direction to restore calm and balance.”
3. Anti-inflammatory drinks.
“Sian and I love turmeric lattes for their anti-inflammatory and all-around cozy effect,” says Miller, adding they’re also fans of a magnesium supplement called Calm, mixed with warm water at night for restful sleep. When stress hits, they advise taking a B complex supplement in the morning, along with ashwaganda, an adaptogen that can be mixed into a morning latte or tea, or taken in capsule form.
Says Gordon, “We like to use imagination and visualization to relax the nervous system—see yourself sitting in front of the ocean.” (Even better if you’re actually at the ocean.) “As the tide pulls back you inhale and watch the wave form. As the wave crashes to shore you exhale. Do that for a minute or two and it will make a big difference.” Meditation practices like this decrease the amygdala, which is where the fight or flight response comes from. Gordon feels her own tension melting away from her body when she does this.