Sometimes it seems that the words ‘college’ and ‘stress’ go hand in hand. Balancing school, work, extra curricular’s and a social life can take a serious toll on your body and peace of mind. But we don’t all have to be yoga-gurus for a little Anada (or happiness). Valley is here to help you channel your inner yogi through small practices that are easy to add to your every day routine.
Have you ever been freaking out and someone told you to breathe? Well, their advice was spot on. Breathing is key to the body’s functioning. When feeling anxious the body tightens it’s muscles, including the chest muscles, in a reaction to stress. Becoming aware of breathing patterns and actively changing the breath can lower heart rate and reduce symptoms of hyperventilation, all which make us freak out worse. Try ‘belly breathing’, or inhaling for an extended amount of time until you feel your abdomen rise and fall with your exhale. Counting to 10 can help with this process.
Every day we are faced with a series of choices on to how to spend our time. Study or go out? Pick up the extra shift at work or go to the gym? One main idea of yoga is that our bodies actually help us make these decisions by communicating with us through comfort and discomfort. Pulling one all-nighter to study may be necessary, but if you regularly find yourself in the library at 3 am, your sleep schedule may be suffering. Being aware of how you feel throughout the day can help you realize whether or not you’re lacking balance and what needs to change to get you back on track.
Mindfulness is training our mind “to be aware of present experience with acceptance,” says Ron D. Siegel, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School. Anytime you find yourself thinking “Wow I’m so bored” or “This is dragging on forever”, it’s a good time to practice mindfulness. Sitting in class, doing the dishes and even eating are all chances to practice mindfulness. “By letting go of our struggle to control everything, we become less easily thrown by life’s daily up’s and down’s, and less likely to get caught in emotional problems like depression and anxiety,” advises Siegel in his book, “The Mindfulness Solution”.
Can’t get enough yogic teachings? Try a class! Lila Yoga Studios on Beaver Avenue offers a discounted student pass for yoga all semester long. Or, read on about these practices and more online at YogaJournal.com.