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Yoga Tips to de-stress for your Wedding Day

The joy and excitement of your Big day getting closer and closer could also bring along with it a number of things to do, arrange and look out for. With the pursuit of planning and executing your dream wedding, you could encounter a number of situations that may stress you out, but you must never forget, stress is no good! The more you fret, the more things will be likely to go wrong. The key lies in getting things done with a healthy mind and body. Remember that this is a celebration of a new beginning in your life, and it will go well only if you are happy and content.

So between the eventful days of your dream wedding planning, do not forget to de-stress, to stay cool and focus better.

yogaThere is no better way of relaxing physically, mentally and spiritually than through the practice of Yoga. In order to make the benefits of Yoga more clear to you, Ms. Sunaina Mathur, who teaches Yoga in the tradition of the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai, at Studio Abhyas in New Delhi, answered some questions regarding the practice of Yoga.

To begin with she was asked 'What is yoga?'.

In simple words, she said, Yoga is the Union between our bodies and our breath. Any action done with the primary focus being on the breath, and the movement taking its cue from the breath, is yoga.

On being asked the benefits of the practice of Yoga, she said that "The very act of co-ordinating the breath and body movement requires keen focus, and hence is meditative in its experience. Yoga thus keeps us rooted in the present moment, since it is difficult to be distracted and move in synchronisation, at the same time. Since the movement follows the breath, we stay within our own safety limit, and the chances of injury due to movement are minimized.

Yoga systematically works the body in a sequential and holistic way...thus oxygen is evenly circulated all over, removing tightness, stress and fatigue. It stretches the spine making the body feel supple, relaxed and energised. Over a period of time, the effect is seen not only in the general state of mind of the practitioner and his/her sense of well being, but also in terms of toning, strengthening and reduction in all kinds of ailments.

In other words, it gives you best results in preparing you for your pre-wedding stress by keeping you focused and active.

We then asked her 'how does yoga help reduce stress and improve concentration?' (keeping in mind how stressful planning your Big day could get) To which she replied that "Stress results in impaired flow of breath and energy in the body. We feel tightness in the shoulders, lower back and neck; and find it difficult to unwind. The breathing is short and laboured, whether we are aware of it or not, and this causes us to feel tired and distracted. This could happen due to a lot of reasons, lack of sleep, apprehension for the big day, service providers delaying, weight gain etc..basically the various unfavorable circumstances that may either be occurring, or those which we may fear.

Yoga elongates the breath. It improves circulation once we begin the practice, and keeps it going for many hours after as well. This is a very invigorating and at the same time very relaxing. We feel renewed, energetic and are able to focus on whatever we choose to do after yoga. Yoga stretches out the whole body, naturally removing blocks accumulated due to stress."

balanced dietRegarding the types of yoga, she said "Yoga has, over the years, been customised by many individuals and schools, to meet the needs of the students. It is a discipline that lends itself easily to variations and can be adjusted to a variety of physical limitations and illnesses. Thus it is difficult to put a finger on how many types of yoga there are. In our classes too, we continually adapt the teaching to individual needs and abilities. Essentially, Yoga follows the principle of co-ordinating movement with breath. The Asanas themselves can be adapted, which means there can be as many variations as people need them to be! Of course there are some classical postures that form the basis of all variations; it is not random."

She was also asked how long would it take for an individual to start benefiting from the practice of Yoga? to which she said, "While much would depend upon the practitioner's physical ability and regularity of practice, effects in the smoothening out of the breath, toning and strengthening of core muscles can be felt as early as within a fortnight or so.

Yoga is a lifelong practice; the longer we spend in refining our practice, and the more regularly we do so, the more sustainable the changes will be."

Does yoga help in reducing weight?

Seeing Yoga as a weight loss programme is catching hold of the wrong end of the stick; which is not to say it won't happen, its just that that is not the focus when we teach. Since through the practice of Yoga, you are circulating far more oxygen through your body than you normally do, the metabolic rate rises...the longer you practice, the longer it stays elevated. Weight loss would depend on the bride/ groom's own metabolism, lifestyle and diet as well.

There are no specific Asanas to address inch or weight loss separately. However, Tadasana, followed by some rounds of lengthened and breath lead Surya Namaskar would be a great place to start. This can be followed with Parshvauttanasana and Virbhadra in a sequence, and an Utkatasana as a counter pose. Lying on the back, you can try leg raises( Urdhva prasarita padasana) and Apanasana. Holding postures with breath modifications are excellent for improving body tone for your Big day!

The good thing about Yoga is that it is an easy form of exercise that requires not more than a yoga mat, a bottle of water and self-motivation.

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