Let’s be honest: it is not supposed to be easy. You went to college or university because you wanted to be challenged. You wanted to make progress on an intellectual level, and that’s a hard goal to achieve. Once you accept the fact that stress is a natural part of the educational journey, you need to find ways to reduce it.
How to do it? One word: yoga.
If you try one yoga class with a good teacher, you’ll experience how it influences your life in the best possible way. That’s the only proof you’ll need. Still not convinced? I’ll list few proven reasons why students can benefit from yoga.
1. Yoga Affects the Chemical Composition of Your Brain
Warrior, crow, locust… these are just physical postures, right? Wrong! Through every movement you make in yoga, you’re activating and relaxing your entire body. You slow down your breathing rate, and you’re calming yourself down. All these actions affect the chemical composition of your brain.
Yoga is not just a physical activity. One study compared the effects of gentle yoga to those of walking. The results showed that the yoga subjects had a greater decrease in anxiety and greater improvement in mood than those who practiced walking.
2. Yoga Reduces Stress
Have you ever noticed how your brain reacts to discomfort and disorientation? The natural response is stress. When you get yourself in an uncomfortable yoga position, you say to yourself: “It’s okay. Just breathe. It gets better with practice.” You’re training your brain to persist.
With time, that mindset translates to every other situation in your life. You’re learning how to build immunity against anxiety. The next time you catch yourself freaking out over a paper, you’ll just remind yourself that there’s always a solution, even if that means hiring a writing service. The important thing is to persist through the obstacles without losing your mind. They make you stronger.
3. Yoga Improves Your Memory, Focus and Attention
Warrior 1 seems like a pretty simple pose, doesn’t it? Anyone can do it. Once you try staying in it for few breaths, you realize how demanding it is. Maybe it doesn’t challenge your body that much. It does, however, challenge your mind. If it wanders away just for a second, you lose balance.
When you practice yoga, you’re focused on every single movement and breath. Even if you limit your practice to poses, you’re still meditating in movement. Real meditation, however, enhances the effects yoga has on your focus and memory. One study showed that students trained in yoga had a significant increase in spatial test scores at retest. This was a specific memory test that showed how yoga improved the performance in the right hemisphere of the brain.
4. It’s a Physical Activity, After All
If you’re like most students, you probably lack physical activity in your daily routine (no, commuting around campus doesn’t count for physical activity). You need to commit to a practice that will keep you fresh, healthy, and energized. There’s hardly a better alternative than yoga. It works for everyone. It doesn’t matter how skinny, flexible, tall, and active you are. You can always find a style that suits you.
Yoga is great for your body. It makes your muscles stronger and more flexible. You’ll notice how it affects not only your appearance but your self-confidence as well.
It’s Time to Start Doing Yoga
The benefits of yoga are limitless. As a student, you’ll mostly experience its effects on your persistence under stress. You’ll teach yourself that every struggle leads to results, as long as you stay strong and committed. Anxiety and stress will still be part of your life, but you’ll learn how to canalize them.
Yoga also improves your memory and focus. If you start meditating for only 20 minutes every single day, you’ll feel like you’re restarting your mind. You’ll be ready for more lectures and more studying, and you’ll remember more of the things you learn. Finally, yoga makes you look good, too!
How do you experience these benefits? Just practice. Consistently! Yoga is not about booking a fancy retreat once in a lifetime. Of course, a retreat could be a great way for a student to immerse in the practice, but it has to complement your lifestyle too. It’s all about your daily commitment to yoga. Are you ready for that challenge?
Want to start doing yoga on a retreat? Try a beginner’s yoga holiday and kick start a new active lifestyle that will help you perform better in college!