By being a wedding photographer you are pursuing your passion and it satiates your creative soul. It gives you a different perspective on life. You get to hear so many beautiful love stories and capture them forever. You meet in-love couples, families, friends, and capture emotions in their most intimate and raw forms. Taking a moment out of time and making it last forever is second nature.
To do all this, you spend all day with your heavy gear on your back, with lots of stress on your shoulders, and maybe hunched over computers for long hours before you get time to sleep.
YOGA is the way out. With yoga, you can meditate, relax, stretch your body, and relieve pain. Yoga can help you get your energy back and return to work with a calm mind and a healthy body each day.
WHAT IS YOGA?
Yoga means union and is the broad term for an Indian spiritual discipline. Out of its many branches, one very useful one is Hatha Yoga. Hatha yoga is about exercises which consist of set poses called asanas. By performing these poses, yoga practitioners build flexibility and strength and also learn how to focus through breathing and mindfulness. It is a great practice for mind and body.
AS A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER, DO I REALLY NEED YOGA?
From long wedding days, to running the business, to client communications, to networking with vendors, to everything in-between, photography can cause your body to feel tight and your muscles to feel overworked. Carrying heavy gear and squatting to get the perfect shot can make your entire body sore, but luckily a few yoga poses, can help you get back to your normal self in no time!
The best thing about starting a yoga practice is that you do not need any experience to start, but as always, if it causes you any pain or if you have an existing injury, you can always stop and move on to another pose!
With some yoga poses you can target your sore feet, wrists, neck, and shoulders and feel refreshed and ready to tackle your to-do list!
MAJOR BENEFITS OF YOGA
Yoga has such a tremendous healing power that it improves your overall physical and mental health. The benefits of yoga are numerous, we have listed a few here for you to better understand the effect of yoga on your body.
- Improves your flexibility
- Builds muscle strength
- Perfects your posture and protects your spine
- Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown (degenerative arthritis)
- Improves bone health
- Improves blood flow
- Lowers risk of heart attacks and depression
- Regulates blood pressure/blood sugar
- Eases pain, relaxes body tension
- Helps you sleep better
- Improves your overall system
- Helps improve focus and channel happiness
Even as you practice yoga as a physical activity, its benefits on your life as a whole are big. With a healthy mind and an energetic, active body one can improve relationships and personal life to such a great level.
You can read more benefits of Yoga here.
What Do You Need to Practice Yoga?
1. Yoga Mat
Vigorous Yoga practices may warrant a quarter-inch-thick mat so you don’t get bruised. In the beginning, you can use thinner ones, if you wish. It should be soft, comfortable yet a ‘sticky mat’. Sticky mats are required to get a good grip on the floor.
2. A Towel
Depending on your preferred style of yoga, you may end up sweating quite a bit during your practice. To avoid slipping or feeling uncomfortable you can just use a towel and get going.
3. Comfortable Clothing
You’ll want to wear comfortable, breathable clothes that allow you to focus on the practice and not your tugging waistband or chafing sleeve. You can wear a tank top or sweat-wicking t-shirt, a loose t-shirt, a long-sleeve shirt, a sports bra, yoga pants, tights, capris, shorts. Men can wear compression shorts underneath.
4. A Water Bottle
We need not say much about this one. Water is the elixir of life and any type of physical activity will make you reach out for water.
5. A Yoga Teacher
This is the most important requirement of all to practice yoga. A good yoga teacher will help you correct your posture and oversee the alignment of your limbs while you practice Yoga. You can join nearby Yoga classes in the beginning and after learning poses you think are good for you, you can start practicing them at home by yourself. If you do not have much time to attend a class or even don’t want to spend much on it in the beginning, you can just watch Youtube tutorials to get started.
6. A Little Time
You can start with as little as one hour a week and slowly increase your time each day as you start getting comfortable. If you feel enthusiastic about it, you can give half-an-hour to an hour for it each day.
5 YOGA POSES FOR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS
Make your way onto the floor, coming to all fours in a tabletop position. Make sure that there’s a long line from your head to your tailbone with shoulders stacked on top of your elbows and wrists and your hips in line with your knees. (If you have sensitive knees or knee pain here, you can always add a blanket underneath for more padding). On an inhale, drop your belly low and gaze up to the ceiling. Exhale as you arch your back, taking your gaze to the floor and tuck your chin to your chest.
Benefits: Stretches the neck, spine, hips, abdomen, and back.
2. Forward Fold (Ragdoll and Shoulder Variation)
Stand up nice and tall and inhale deeply. On an exhale fold over your legs, bending the knees as much as you need (if the hamstrings are particularly tight, bend the knees a lot here). Hang heavy over your legs, making sure there’s no tension in your neck (to release tension, shake your head “yes” and shake your head “no”). Grab opposite hands to opposite elbows. You can find stillness here or it may feel nice on the low back to add a gentle sway side-to-side. (If you’d rather take this into the shoulder variation, you can interlace your fingers behind your low back for a shoulder stretch)
Benefits: Helps reduce fatigue, stretches the calves, hips, and hamstrings. The arm variation will stretch your shoulders, helps with headaches.
3. Gorilla Pose
From your forward fold (the last pose), slide the palms of your hands underneath your feet with the toes touching your wrist creases. Again, bend your needs as little or as much as you need to and let your head hang heavy. (Shake your head “yes” and shake your head “no”). It might feel nice to massage your wrists with your toes.
Benefits: Stretches out sore wrists and relieves stress.
4. Legs Up the Wall
Lie on your back and bring your glutes as close as you can to a wall. Extend your legs up the wall, resting with the back of your legs and heels against it. Breathe deeply here and relax with your arms out at your side or resting on your belly!
If you have a foam block or a rolled-up blanket, you can place it at your low back and raise your legs up to the ceiling instead of using a wall. Stay here for at least two minutes to get the full benefits of the pose. If you don’t have enough wall space to use, you can also do this on your bed up against your headboard.
Benefits: Calms the nervous system and the mind. Relieves tired leg muscles and reduces swelling in the legs and feet.
5. Extended Child’s Pose
To begin Extended Child’s Pose, kneel on the floor. Keep your weight on the heels of your feet.
Touch your big toes together. Separate the knees so that they are a little more than a hip’s width apart. Reach your arms ahead of you and let the chest sink towards the floor. Rest your forehead on the floor, drawing the shoulders away from the ears. Stay in Extended Child’s Pose for as long as you need, focusing on your breath.
Benefits: Extended Child’s Pose is calming and restorative – great for the spine, thighs, hips, shoulders, arms, and neck.
To learn more yoga poses you can consult these really great Yoga resources.
- Yoga with Adriene
- Yogaforphotographers by Vanessa Joy
- YogaByCandace Forum
IT’S YOUR TURN TO TRY
The next time you feel like photography has taken a toll on your body, give these simple yoga poses a try. While helping to ease stress as well as aches and pains, yoga and wedding photographers can create a beautiful union.
[Related Reading: 6 Signs You’re Headed Toward Busy Season Overload]
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ShootDotEdit is not responsible and cannot be held legally liable for any injury resulting from participating in any of the suggested Yoga practices and exercises above. Please be sure to consult with your physician before starting a new exercise routine or if you have pain while exercising. This post also contains links to other websites. Such external links are not investigated, monitored, or checked for accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness by ShootDotEdit and ShootDotEdit is not responsible for the material or anything resulting from following information / suggestions within those sites.