Written by Phalyn Powell (née Turcotte) - a prairie yogi living + loving in Whistler, BC
Choosing to do yoga the morning of my wedding day was an easy decision. It wasn’t a “nice little extra”- it was a must. I knew that I was going to need some help to remember to breathe deeply, and be in the moment for the big day. I also thought that it would help my wedding party and close friends to connect on a deeper level, and share an experience that would be remembered forever. For me, getting ready for my big day needed to consist of more than a shower and a cup of coffee, I needed to get on to my mat.. Followed, of course, by a big cup of coffee!
In 2005, during a stressful time of my life, I began my practice at Hot Yoga Winnipeg, a Bikram studio that had emerged during the hot yoga craze that came to Winnipeg. I was hooked from the get-go, practicing four times a week and loving it. After a few months, I noticed changes not only in my body, but in my mind. My thoughts changed. Moving meditation was something I had never heard of before, but it resonated with me. While focusing on what my body was doing - and trying not to fall over - I could think of nothing else. It wasn’t until my teacher mentioned “moving meditation” during a class that I took notice of my mental state, and realized that yoga was so much more than a workout. I finally understood the mind + body + soul connection that I heard yogis speak of.
Yoga has since become a constant in my life. Turning to my mat - a safe place, a happy place, a place to laugh or to cry - over the past eight years has been an incredible gift. Exploring my practice has made me a better person, and I knew that doing a class on the morning of my wedding day is just what the yogi ordered.
The week leading up to the wedding was hectic, as to be expected. And having my bachelorette party two days before did not help put me in the calm state I so badly desired. My monkey-mind kept me up all night the night before the big day and I set foot into the studio the in morning frazzled and sleep deprived. Laying in shavasana and breathing deeply for the first time, beginning to feel revitalized with breath, I instantly felt grateful for being there with my closest friends, and just breathing. The yin based class was the right mix of deep hip opening with a few vinyasas thrown in, getting the built up energy of the day flowing though us all.
In the final shavasana I laid there in my last moments as a single woman, feeling at peace with all that was about to happen.
The day went off without a hitch, but I was ready for anything thanks to my morning practice. Starting my wedding day with yoga helped to calm my nerves, settle my mind, and reminded me to breathe and enjoy every single moment of the best day of my life.
Now I just need to convince my husband to start practicing. :)
Top photo courtesy of: Sweet Heirloom Photography