Meghan Markle is committed to her practice, which just might be the secret to a stress-free wedding day.
Photo: Karwai Tang / Getty Images
Have you heard there's a royal wedding coming up? Of course you have. Ever since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged back in November, their nuptials have provided a welcome break from every depressing thing in the news. We learned all about Meghan Markle's crazy-hard workout, bought a pair of her favorite white sneakers, and read up on all the details of their day.
In case you had any doubt that people are obsessed, an estimated 2.8 billion people watched the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, which—understatement of the year—makes it a pretty high-pressure event for the couple.
How to deal? Markle has been doing yoga regularly all her life (her mom is a yoga instructor), and the months leading up to the wedding haven't been an exception. In fact, there are some real reasons to double down on the practice before a stressful day—and they have nothing to do with looking good in a fancy dress. (Related: Watching My Mom Become a Yoga Teacher Taught Me a New Meaning of Strength)
"Just 15 minutes of yoga can help you feel ready to head down the aisle or to an important event," says Heather Peterson, chief yoga officer with CorePower Yoga. "Adding yoga to your daily routine will calm your nerves and make you feel stronger—both physically and mentally."
Here are some other reasons to follow Markle's lead and take up the practice before your next big commitment—even if it isn't as intense as a wedding watched by a third of the world that marks your entry into royalty.
Yoga helps you appreciate the moment...
You know how major moments seem to slip by way faster than the menial ones? Yoga can help you make the most of them. "The more you practice being present on the mat, the easier it will be to stay present in everyday life," says Heidi Kristoffer, creator of CrossFlowX Yoga and Shape yoga advisor. You're not just practicing yoga, she explains. "You're practicing how you want to be and feel in your life."
Plus, yoga can help you move beyond any mental roadblocks holding you back from having a good time. "Yoga doesn't just work out physical kinks, it helps you through the mental ones too, which makes it easier to enjoy any moment," says Kristoffer.
...and remember it more clearly.
People performed better on memory tests after 20 minutes of yoga than they did after cardio, according to a Journal of Physical Activity & Health study. "Meditation and breathing exercises are known to reduce anxiety and stress, which in turn can improve scores on some cognitive tests," Neha Gothe, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology, health and sport studies at Wayne State University in Detroit said in a press release.
Yoga may fend off the post-wedding blues.
You know yoga makes you feel better after a bad day, but it might help with depression, too. Doing yoga just twice a week reduced symptoms of depression in veterans after two months of practice, according to research presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association. We suggest starting with these eight yoga poses that help treat depression.
Yoga helps you deal with stress.
First off, yoga encourages you to focus on your breathing during hard poses, a skill that's equally valuable when you leave the studio. "Your breath is something you can tap into any time you're away from your mat and feeling stressed," Peterson says.
Setting an intention helps, too. Teachers at CorePower Yoga start class by setting an intention, then they remind you of it throughout the class, especially during difficult poses. "This trains you to keep your focus when things get tough," Peterson says.
Kristoffer suggests setting a similar intention or choosing a mantra before a big event, especially an emotional one. "Your mantra and intention can be the same thing, just choose a phrase that grounds you," she says. And if you're feeling stressed, "repeat your mantra until your breathing becomes even and deep, and you're firmly back in the present."
If you need help with your mantra, focusing on gratitude and love are safe bets, royal wedding or otherwise.