There’s no denying that weddings can bring out the best in people (QT with your favorite ladies) and the worst in people (melodramatic family members, anyone?). You may have already increased your yoga classes in order to deal with stress related to wedding planning, but what about indulging in some downward dog on your big day? We chatted with Octavia Raheem, founder of CHILLshop®yoga in Atlanta, about why getting your namaste on pre-nuptials is good for both your body and mind.

Wedding yoga

Octavia knows that wedding days aren’t always the most relaxing, especially for the bridal party. “Weddings often stir up a lot of emotion, and all of this can have a profound effect on our bodies,” Octavia explains. She believes that “Yoga makes for a powerful pre-wedding day addition because it can positively impact our bodies, minds, nervous systems, heart and emotions at the same time.”

The main goal of your pre-wedding ritual should be to enjoy the time spent with your closest friends and savor each moment. Octavia believes yoga is perfect for this because “A session provides an opportunity for the wedding party to take a time out, deep breathe and connect to what is essential and real about the day.” And getting that relaxation in pre-party is great for what’s to come. “It also helps to rest and wind down before everything gets really ‘turnt up!’ (in the best way possible of course),” says Octavia.

So whether you decide to hire a professional yoga teacher or follow a guided meditation at the local gym, a little yoga practice can help to subdue that wedding-day craziness and keep you all centered. If you are in Atlanta, be sure to check out Octavia’s CHILLshop®yoga sessions, which blend aromatherapy with a therapeutic touch and provide a restorative practice that’s accessible for all yoga levels.

Eleanor  Jerry post image

Before you treat yourself and your bridal party to a relaxing yoga session pre-wedding, here are a few things Octavia suggests you keep in mind:

1. Ask for recommendations. The day of your wedding is not the time to experiment with a yoga instructor. If you don’t already have a go-to yogi, ask your friends or someone you trust for their suggestions and attend a class for a trial run.

2. Location, location, location. Do you want to namaste with your besties at a nearby studio or book a solo sesh in your bridal suite? Be sure to take the length of the session and time of day into consideration.

3. Smile for the camera. “Some brides bring their photographer along to the session,” says Octavia. “The interesting thing about that is that even the person taking pictures usually remarks about how just being present for the yoga session shifts their energy and focus for the day!”

4. All in this together. Take all of your maids’ health concerns/needs into consideration. “If your entire bridal party will be participating, you want to make sure that the teacher can create a class appropriate for all levels — no matter their experience,” advises Octavia.

5. Let it go. Remember what your yoga practice is all about: letting it go and letting it be. “Since you’ve chosen a teacher you trust, really commit to letting go of the the need to manage details (if you’re that type) and allow yourself to be fully taken care and supported!” Octavia says. “Practicing yoga before the wedding sets a bride and groom and their parties up to show up and be present, relaxed and ready to hold and savor their special day where it really counts: In the heart. In the mind. In the moment!”

Will you namaste on your wedding day? Let us know in the comments below!

(Photos via Chris Jones of Sowing Clover)