With so many stressors coming from school, work and maintaining a social life, students need to take breaks and establish time to de-stress. For any student feeling overwhelmed, incorporating a short yoga routine into your daily schedule can help focus your mind on the present.
A daily yoga routine can improve concentration and mental health throughout the week. Yoga has many physical benefits, like improving balance, helping with back pain, strengthening your heart and overall improving your level of energy.
Samantha Rebert, a yoga lecturer at Cal State Fullerton, said yoga uses meditation and breathing techniques to help your body with relaxation and focus.
According to the American Osteopathic Association, yoga can increase body awareness, relieve stress patterns, relax the mind and center one’s attention. Because yoga helps you focus on your posture and breathing, it can improve concentration throughout the day.
Rebert said it is more important to practice yoga frequently instead of marathoning your yoga routine in one day.
“It just depends on each person, I think that more so, the frequency is more important than the length of time. You can sit in meditation for three minutes and still get plenty of benefits from it,” Rebert said. “Maybe, 5 to 10 minutes, a couple times a week, should be enough.”
Yoga can also help improve academic performance. Rebert said doing physical activities can allow students to better access their brains.
“There’s actually research that’s been done that shows that if you’ve been physically active in the morning, that you actually have better test results for things like math,” Rebert said.
The physical activity can also increase your mood and well-being, helping you calm down and relax when encountering potentially stressful situations. While having a workout routine trains the muscles, yoga, on top of physical benefits, also trains your brain, Rebert said.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, doing yoga can improve cognitive skills like memory and learning. They found that yoga may counteract age-related declines in memory and other cognitive skills.
Another big stressor students have is a lack of sleep. Students either have trouble falling asleep or are too stressed to get a good night's rest. Because yoga helps improve your body’s relaxation, yoga can also help you get better sleep, according to John Hopkins Medicine.
For students who can’t find the time to practice yoga in the morning or during the day, don’t worry. Yoga focuses on the practice of meditation and breathing. Students can incorporate breathing exercises into their day when they are waiting in a line, in class or just relaxing at study spots around campus. The most simple form of a breathing exercise is just breathing in through the nose, holding it for a few seconds, and then exhaling.
Students can also practice meditation when they are in lines or just relaxing at one of the study places around campus. Meditation doesn’t have to involve sitting cross legged with your eyes closed, but can simply just be you setting aside your phone or laptop and focusing on your breathing while tuning out the noise around you.
Meditation and breathing exercises can be especially helpful with reducing stress and anxiety, calming your mind from everything you need to get done and helping you refocus on getting that done.
It’s perfectly ok if you can’t incorporate a full 5 to 10-minute yoga session into your day. Instead if you find yourself overwhelmed with work and school throughout the day try practicing simple breathing exercises or drowning out all the extra noise through meditation.
However, if you have the time, then doing a yoga session in the morning can help activate your brain early on, improving your focus and mood for the rest of the day while providing physical benefits as well.
For students trying to practice yoga, CSUF offers one yoga course under the Kinesiology department. The Student Recreation Center also offers Vinyasa yoga and yoga sculpt sessions.