Until you're a bride in the throes of planning a wedding you can never understand the unique blend of anticipation, anxiety and, more than anything, stress. Will it all go as planned? What's the worst-case scenario? What if I don't fit into the dress? There might be nightmares and waking daydreams. Consistent exercise is one way to combat the butterflies, and yoga is a wonderful practice to help soothe and calm the mind and nerves, while improving one's posture for that strapless gown. In addition to those more run-of-the-mill coping mechanisms are some alternative, in some cases New Age-y, practices worth considering — like meditation.
Meditation might already be in the wheelhouse of more tapped-in brides, and it's a good idea for everybody. There's nothing better for your wellbeing than quieting the mind and clearing away all the clutter. There are countless apps that guide the user through quick or longer meditations, and many major cities now have chic studios aimed at doing the same—check out the wide-ranging classes at MNDFL in New York's Greenwich Village, or Unplug in Brentwood (LA). Unplug is also where you can find Scott Schwenk, a healer and breath work guru whose sessions in the latter practice can be game-changing. The breathing exercises done in his classes, lying on a cushion in a dark room, are quite rigorous, but worth the work. You may feel a tingling, vibrating sensation take over your body (and sometimes tears), and a release like you've never known. Increased energy is also a side effect—a benefit for worn-down brides!
A spa day with a massage is always a treat leading up to the big day, but the effects often feel too short-lived. Yamuna Body Rolling is a holistic method employing rubber balls in varying sizes that has practitioners across the country. It's like a light workout and massage in one—the balls stimulates and create space around the joints and specific muscles. Not only does it feel amazing (and only occasionally uncomfortable, where there's lots of tension) but it's known to elongate the body, increase muscle tone, improve alignment (again with the posture!) and for some has decreased the appearance of cellulite.
Another technique that can assist in smoothing cellulite—and what bride-to-be doesn't want that?!—is consistent use of a cryosauna, a chamber that is cooled with liquid nitrogen to negative 250 degrees fahrenheit, with a completely nude person inside (except for socks and gloves). The frigid yet quick (2-3 minutes) experience can reduce inflammation, anxiety and headaches, and boost energy and improve sleep. Instead of freezing, one can also float to deeply relax, relieve stress and pain, and increase endorphins.
Sensory deprivation float tanks (like those at Pause in Venice, CA) give you an hour of complete quiet while you float nude in a darkened pod filled with super salty water, an environment that causes the brain to give out alpha waves that promote relaxation and meditation. Finally, there's simple female camaraderie. In Venice, doula Paula Mallis hosts new moon and full moon circles on a regular basis. At them, chic, conscious women sit in a circle and discuss the coming stage of the moon and talk intention-setting and manifestation. There could be revelations, tears or laughter along with the good old-fashioned girl talk, and that's practically guaranteed to relieve a little stress.