College is a time for fun, growth, and new adventures. It’s an exciting stage of life, but just like any life-changing opportunity, it can also bring on lots of pressure, stress, and anxiety. While school often prepares students in finding an amazing career, it may not always provide the emotional tools to help support in achieving these goals.
Yoga is a great way to help manage your college stress. In my previous post “Why You Need a Private Yoga Session”, it was touched upon the benefit of self-awareness. This comes from learning to remain present through mindfulness. Yoga is mindfulness…it is a practice that can benefit you at school, work, and in your personal life. It helps strengthen the mind, the body, and your energy, so that you can have more control over your reactions to stress.
Consider these three easy yoga poses as tools at your fingertips. You can practice each morning or just before a big exam to help you stay connected to your inner calm. Try to take at least 5 minutes per yoga pose below. A total of 15 “short” minutes of practice will benefit you throughout your day.
Well, I promised you in the title “easy” yoga poses. This one pose actually has it in the name!!
Easy pose is a great starting point for any yoga session. Start seated in the center of your yoga mat (or floor/or bed) cross one leg in front of the other. Sit up tall, closing your eyes, or holding a soft gaze looking down at your mat. Drop your shoulders down away from your ears. Resting your hands on your knees or the floor. Start to check in with your breathing, take a few deep breaths in and out. Now bring your breathing into an equal part breath (inhale for 4 breaths; exhale for 4 breaths). Maybe do a few seated side stretches or reach your fingers tall towards the sky. That’s it, sit in this soft easy position for 5 minutes.
This next pose is very popular in yoga class, and will most likely be referenced multiple times throughout a class. This is where many teachers suggest that if the pace of a class gets too intense, or if one needs a moment to slow down, you can come into a child’s pose.
To come into child’s pose, move into a tabletop position with hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Move your knees outward to the sides of your mat, bringing your big toes to touch. Push back folding forward from your hips, bring your torso between your thighs and your forward to the mat. Arms can either be stretched out in front of you on the mat or rested along the sides of your body. Relaxing your shoulders, once again away from your ears.
As you are folded, feel free to open and close your jaw, stick out your tongue; don’t worry no one can see your face! Remember to check in with your breathing, feel free to come back to the equal part breathing technique. Continue here for 5 minutes.
Legs Up the Wall
Lastly, my most favorite pose. Inversions are pure magic for the body. They help to improve circulation and energy slumps. It is restorative in nature, allowing the mind and body to relax.
Move your mat so the short-width side is touching the wall. Now laying down on your mat, move your hips as close to the wall as possible. Start to walk or bring your legs up the wall (your body will be in an L-shape). If you do not feel comfortable with your legs up the wall, you can avoid the wall all together by just putting your feet up in the air (which requires a little more balance on your part).
It’s important that you do not feel any pain in your lower back. So if you feel that your back is arching off the mat, you may need to shuffle your bottom closer to the wall. Once you are in a comfortable position, focus on your breathing. Maybe place your hands so one is on your belly and one is on your chest. Mindfully hang out in this pose for 5 or more minutes.
And voila….yoga is magic….stress-relief is within your power.