Despite having a dodgy knee and not being super flexible, I was an avid yogi all the way through my wedding planning process and I am a massive fan of its calming effects and health benefits. I’ve been practicing with Yogasphere for over a year and a half now and I’m still nowhere near pro level (I can still barely touch my toes!), but I can see and feel the benefits. I don’t always enjoy it when I’m in class as I get frustrated by my incapabilities and I absolutely detest doing a downward dog on a slippery mat, but I always feel both rejuvenated and awash with tranquillity afterwards.
I started my yoga journey with Yogasphere’s famous class at the top of The Shard (this was one of my very first blog posts! You can read about it here!). This was a treat to kick start my own wedding fitness, and I’ve been hooked on Yogasphere ever since. However, amidst wedding planning it can be hard to drag yourself to a class (thankfully Yogasphere have an amazing app and a great last min cancellation policy!), or even take time out for yourself, so I asked one of the Yogasphere founders, Mandy Jhamat, to give me some tips.
Here, Mandy shares five easy yoga poses to help you destress at home, no membership required (although I would recommend it!):
1. Childs Pose – Balasana
Beginners should start with knees very wide, big toes touching. Tilt the pelvis before leaning back with sit-bones to reach towards heels. Lengthen side body and relax the torso towards the floor. For extra support, your head may need to rest on a cushion, or a rolled-up towel may be required under the front of your ankles or buttocks (depending on where you feel tight). Be comfortable so that you can spend 5 mins here – pillows or cushions can help to sustain the pose to get the calming effects.
The whole back body is stretching here so the breath naturally moves towards the lower lungs, expanding breathing capacity – which helps to destress. The stomach is free between the legs to assist in this deeper breath as the front and back body moves as one. Lastly, with the forehead resting on something soft this aids the slowing of activity in the frontal cortex of brain.
2. Legs Up a Wall – Viparita Karani (Mandy’s favourite after a stressful day)
I love this pose! Once you are at a wall with sit-bones as close to the wall as your hamstrings will allow, you can place a bolster or a rolled-up towel under your seat. If it’s hard to stop your legs rolling out to the side, then a strap around the thighs can create an internal rotation to relieve the lumbar spine.
Once in position, simply let go… The pose will work its magic as the blood flow reverses from your feet up the legs and your body is supported by the floor. Make it cosy with a blanket under your body or head for extra support. An eye mask will help to create total calm and make it easier to retreat into yourself.
3. Reclined Twist – Jathara Parivartanasana
The top or both legs bent versions can work here, both legs together is a little more of an intense a twist though. Spend at least 12-14 breaths on each side so the body can yield into the twist – this is great to tone the internal organs, offering a gentle massage and creating space and realignment through vertebrae and bringing calm the mind.
Twists wring out all the tension in the body and are also revitalizing afterwards, as the fresh blood rushes to oxygenate your entire body.
4. Breathing – five mins of seated breathing
Try a four-part breath; inhale 3, hold breath out 1, exhale 3, hold breath out 1. Work towards the rhythm being relaxed and making your mind calmer. Increase to 6-3-6-3 after a few days of being completely at ease with 3-1 rhythm.
Most anxiety and stress can be relieved with mindful conscious breathing, but it’s important not to action the breath, but feel it naturally and drop into your own natural rhythm.
5. Foetal Position – Modified Savasana
Lie on your side in a foetal position with knees curled in towards the body. You may sleep this way so it should feel natural. The idea here is to let the body melt into the earth. You can support your head with a blanket or your arm, and a small rolled blanket under the side waist where there is a natural curve can feel nice too. Ensure that you do both sides and settle into this embryonic shape and explore total relaxation.
Thanks to Mandy for sharing her tips! I feel more relaxed just reading these!
These are perfect for anyone to try themselves at home, but especially perfect for anyone stressing out while planning a wedding – take it from me.
After going through the biggest year of my life, yoga was my saving grace. I started blogging about weddings, planned my own entire wedding, subsequently spent my life savings on my wedding and honeymoon, travelled on a plane more times than there are months of the year, quit my day job, and started a business! Suffice to say it was an amazing but somewhat full on, and quite stressful, year! Yoga kept me sane, grounded, and focused, as well as doing wonders for my sleep patterns, my tiredness, my skin, the overall tone of my body, and of course, my stress levels.
Namaste guys! 💋🙏🏼
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