Yoga for stress

Yoga

By Vicki Ruehmkorff
Vicki is a CSU student and certified yoga teacher

There are many things that come with being a student, and from time to time, stress is likely to be one of them. This can lead to anxiety, depression, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system and those are just the topping. If you go deeper, stress can also lead to major depression, heart disease, obesity, eating disorders or it can aggravate already existing health problems or disorders.

Yoga, which aims to stretch and strengthen both body and mind is often not understood and dismissed. However, some of the benefits of yoga that are important in fighting back against stress and its co-pilots are that it constantly helps with your posture by stretching out and reforming muscle memories, increases blood flow, drains the lymph system and gives an immunity function boost – basically less money spent on cold and flu tablets and massages.

Not only does yoga benefit the body, it also helps the mind. In all yoga there is Pranayama, the breath, and our body’s life force. Too often to we leave our breathing as ‘automatic’. Yoga helps to enhance the breath, which leads to more oxygen in our bloodstream, burning food for energy and generally helping against fatigue and headaches. Together with the yoga poses (Asanas), the body works together to aid itself and generally make you feel a lot better.

As students, we often sit for hours on end at our desks reading journals and textbooks as well as writing out assignments. We often don’t think about the benefits of getting up and about and stretching our bodies and sometimes we don’t want to. Yoga is not a rough or sweaty ‘sport’, yoga is doing exercise while not realising it. You gain more benefits from doing five minutes of yoga when you get out of bed or before sleep each day than any sport that is rough on your body’s joints and muscles – anything that involves running, basically.

Yoga can be done in simple five-minute sets every hour or two and you will still get benefits from it. Alternatively, there are hour-long yoga classes in many cities now and also free ones online for those living on a budget or with no access to a class. The great thing about yoga is you can do it anywhere – even in bed – so there is no excuse of not having enough space. A great place to do yoga is in a park, the fresh air is very stimulating and it’s often quite peaceful if you go at the right times, although can be a nuisance if the weather is bad.

Finding time to do a few hours of yoga per week can be hard as a student, however there is always time for five minutes after sleep or before it, as well as a few stretches when you are at your desk reading or writing for classes. Just doing these five-minute yoga intervals can have amazing benefits for your stress levels, which means you can study better and feel good at the same time!

Image source: Albumarium