Blessing a bride-to-be and her bride tribe with a gift of yoga no longer comes as a surprise. The times are changing, and the wellbeing industry is seeing a growing need for more meaning, depth and connection in those once-in-a-lifetime events – hen-do’s and stag-do’s. Yoga can offer this and more, making the celebration special and memorable.
I love unique and original requests from clients. After all, they challenge my creativity and allow me to test how well I can accommodate and adapt to individual needs. The highest reward is to witness the attendees leaving my events with blissful smiles and rejuvenated spirits, especially when there’s something more special to celebrate.
One of my pre-lockdown bookings took me all the way to Exmoor National Park in Somerset. The giggly and connection-building yoga event was a Sunday cherry on top of a very sweet hen weekend.
The weather invited us to go outside on dewy grass to kick off a soulful yoga morning. In the opening meditation part, instead of OMs, we chanted ‘sacred vows’, visualised ‘bride vibes’ and exhaled ‘the de-stressed bride’. It was just the beginning. To the happy surprise of all attendees, no single yoga pose name sounded familiar from this point. ‘Blind wife’ and ‘Deaf husband’ poses initiated physical warm-ups, while ‘Blushing bride’, ‘Toast’, ‘Butterflies in the stomach’ and ‘Curious guest’ poses were their natural extension.
The ‘Honeymoon’ pose (Seated hip twists and stretches) and ‘Housewife’ pose (Seated straddle, if you like) gave a lighthearted flavour of what the new chapter of life may feel like. With ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the sweetest of them all’ (as renamed from Revolving head-to-knee pose) and ‘Gettin’ hitched on a highway’ (yoga for eyes), the session transformed into a naturally flowing laughter yoga class, resulting in even more physical and mental health benefits than a regular class could involve.
‘Love intent’ (Indian squat), ‘Love match’ (Forward bend & chest opener in pairs) and various ‘Heart openers’ (such as Lunge) created a foundation for a sequence of classic Haṭha Yoga stretches renamed to ‘Honeymoon suitcase’ (Forward bend) and ‘Confetti ‘(Backbend), as well as ‘Love embrace’ (Eagle pose), ‘First dance’ (Dancer pose), and ‘Macho-man sequence’ (Cow-face pose). The most imaginative and full of meaning were ‘Love surrender’ (Warrior #1) and ‘Love flight’ (Warrior #3). Judging by the response, no one will forget ‘Pop the champagne’ (Side angle pose), ‘Bride-on-top’ (Plank pose) and ‘Mrs always right’ (Sphinx pose).
With ‘Loveboat’ (Boat pose) and ‘Proud groom’ (Reverse plank pose), and the peak in back bend poses such as ‘Golden ring’ (Camel / Wheel pose), the class started to fade out towards gentle and mindful exercises, but not necessarily any soberer. These were ‘Beaching babes’ (Crocodile), ‘Post-wedding night’ (Shavasana) and… ‘Hangover’ (Restorative pose).
Only ‘Goddess’ pose didn’t need renaming, and… ‘Child’.
Once this bespoke Haṭha Yoga class was over, and the bride-to-be with her bride tribe was sitting still in a circle holding hands, we all noticed something special – we were all grounded in our own spirits, connected with each other, and tearful. That was the time for the authenticity of our emotions, holding space for one another, and strengthening the intent for the next chapter of life…
If you are looking for ideas for a soulful hen or stag party, it’s not uncommon to seek a deep and genuine connection with your fellow humans in these once-in-a-lifetime types of events. Yoga can offer this and more, making the celebration truly special and memorable. Get in touch to find out more, before your ‘Game, set, match’ (Namaste).
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