Here are some great yoga poses for beginners from Michael Taylor for both brides AND grooms (and hey, they’ll even work for newlyweds too). You can practice these poses together as a way to stay connected to your intended, strengthen your bond, and have a little good clean bodybending fun as a couple.
3 Yoga Poses to help you chill out:
1. Butterfly Pose
How-to: Sit with your knees close to your chest. Relax your knees out to either side, and gently press the bottoms of your feet together. Hold your feet or your ankles.
Tips: Lean forward slightly, so you can feel your “sit bones” on the ground. You can round over your feet to open up your back and relax your neck, or stay more upright and breathe your chest
Benefits: Opens the hips. Calming. Deep breath in, wedding stress out.
2. Child’s Pose
How-to: From hands and knees, untuck your toes and lower your hips back to your heels. With knees apart or together, lie your body on your thighs and rest your forehead on the ground. Arms can be straight forward on the ground, or reaching behind you for an extra shoulder release.
Tips: Before relaxing completely, press your palms into the ground with arms straight and elbows lifted, pushing your hips firmly back toward your heels. For an extra back release, breathe deeply into your whole back. Use this pose to rest between challenging poses.
Benefits: Opens hips and back. Calming. Banishes wedding budget woes.
3. Pigeon Pose
How-to: From a low lunge, lift or walk your front foot over so the ankle is behind your opposite wrist. Lower your back knee to the ground, and using your hands for support at the front of your mat, lower your front knee behind your wrist. Front shin can be parallel to the front of your mat, or angled slightly back. Walk your hands forward and come on to your forearms, or extend your arms and body out on the floor in front of you.
Tips: Before coming forward, walk your hands back so your body is vertical over your hips, breathe and press into your hands to take some weight out of your hips and roll them square to the front of your mat. Take your time coming forward, and keep the front of your body long and open.
Benefits: Opens the hips and the fronts of your upper thighs. Increases flexibility for grace under pressure, especially at the altar.
4 Yoga Poses to help you get chiseled:
1. Plank Pose
How-to: Start on your hands and knees, shoulders directly over your wrists. Tuck your toes, extend your legs, and walk your feet back until your shoulders, hips, and ankles form a straight line.
Tips: Keep your belly and lower back from sagging by using your inhales to pull your belly in and puff up your lower back. You can check for your straight line by looking down the underside of your body.
Benefits: Builds arm and abdomen strength. Good for patience. Goodbye belly bulge, hello curve-hugging wedding dress.
2. Side Plank
How-to: From a plank, lift your hips up slightly, then shift your weight into one hand as you roll your whole body open to the side. Stack your hips, knees, and ankles vertically on top of each other. Your shoulders, hips and ankles should be in one straight line. Reach your top arm straight up, forming a line from your planted wrist through your top fingers.
Tips: To make balance easier, rather than stacking your feet on top of each other, simply leave your feet where they were in your plank as your roll open to the side. The foot of your top leg will end up in front of your other foot, giving you a more solid base. You can also rest your lower knee on the ground to make it easier to hold this pose.
Benefits: Builds arm and shoulder strength and tones side abs. Good for patience. Gives you and your groom six-pack abs; brings sexy back.
3. Warrior II Pose
How-to: From a high lunge, roll your back heel to the ground, turn your shoulders parallel to your mat, and reach your arms out parallel to the ground. Keep your body vertical over your hips, and your front knee directly over your ankle.
Tips: Keep your back heel firmly grounded so the weight is shared equally with your front foot, drop your back hip so both are the same height, and reach just as strongly behind you as in front.
Benefits: Builds leg strength and opens the hips. Conditions your hamstrings for all-night dancing in satin heels.
4. Dolphin Pose
How-to: From hands and knees, bring your forearms to the ground, elbows right under your shoulders, hands directly forward of your elbows. Tuck toes and lift hips and belly straight up, forming a high V-shape.
Tips: To build arm and shoulder strength, particularly for forearm stands, walk your feet toward your elbows, bringing your hips closer to vertical over your shoulders. Rock your shoulders forward of your elbows while keeping your belly lifted, and then back behind your elbows while sinking your upper chest toward the ground. Repeat several times.
Benefits: Builds strength in arms and shoulders. Chisels your guns so you can rock that strapless gown.
For more great yoga poses from Michael Taylor, including how-to videos and tips, you can check out our Yoga Poses for Beginners series.
Bride and Groom yoga image via Nicole Caldwell