What Can Yoga Teach Us About Weddings?

Today, I write in honor of the famous Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, who taught so many about mindfulness. His teachings are very accessible, you can find out lots about him, even on Facebook. As of this writing he is quietly awaiting his death in Vietnam.


I’m no yogi, that’s for sure, but I’ve been thinking about yoga and weddings. Don’t worry, I’m not advocating twisting up like a pretzel at the altar, so keep reading! Yoga is a term that embraces many things. It includes religion, philosophy and physical, mental and spiritual practices. It’s a tradition that comes from ancient India; it is over 5,000 years old and has spread around the world in many forms. So with all of that history there is a lot to draw upon.

The most popular form of yoga here in the United States is Hatha yoga – the kind where you do a series of exercises and postures (including some twisting) with attention to breathing. But for my purpose today I’m thinking of how yoga practice helps with what is sometimes called ‘mindfulness,’ or living in the present moment, a concept shared with Buddhist thought.

When we are anxious or excited our thinking can become clouded. Most of us can recall a stressful event when our minds went blank, if only for a moment. Concentration is difficult when we are nervous, and weddings certainly bring out a lot of nervous excitement. Even though you are happy, you are in a state that is similar to fear. Adrenaline will do that. You may even be experiencing some fear, if only because everyone is looking at you!

Many couples report they don’t remember much of their wedding. They say it flew by in a blur. In my practice as an officiant, ‘my’ couples have the opportunity to review their ceremony script, including editing parts, if needed. This helps them understand and appreciate its meaning when the time comes. In other words – they can be more in the moment. Mindfullness.

For those who’d like to take the yoga influence a bit further, consider incorporating a meditative moment, or other yoga inspired aspect to your ceremony. I have included a group “Om” at a ceremony, a breathing ritual in one, and a chant at another. I’ve read poems inspired by yoga and have included variations of the explanation of the popular word ‘namaste.’

I honor the place in you,

Where the entire universe resides,

I honor the place in you,

of love, of light, of peace.

I honor the place within you, where

If you are in that place in you,

And I am in that place in me,

There is only one of us.

That’s a pretty cool thing to express about joining together in marriage.

You don’t have to practice yoga to benefit from the concepts it offers. A little pre-wedding deep breathing can help. Consider having some quiet music as you prepare, or try a meditation or mantra. You can invent your own.

A mantra is a word, phrase or sound that you repeat over and over, like a hymn. It is calming – and that is something you need on your wedding day. Create a personal mantra for yourself, whatever that means for you – not necessarily based on any ideology. Creating a mantra with your partner could be wonderful as well, and to know that you are both thinking of the same phrase before you meet at the altar is uniting in itself. It could be something like: Today is the day I join with my love.   

Your wedding is one of the most important moments in your life, and you want to drink it in and enjoy it because it will be over all too soon. So be in the moment, or try because I know it is easier said than done!

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