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The Benefits of Yoga for College Students

June 7, 2010
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The college experience offers many opportunities to develop unhealthy behavior patterns, whether it be stress from final exams, overeating in all-you-can-eat buffet style cafeterias, or pulling all-nighters to make deadlines. Stress is said to be the number one trigger of ailments in our physical, endocrinal and emotional systems. Thankfully, practicing yoga can alleviate most of these problems.

Yoga is a holistic practice, which helps you gain overall balance and focus. Most students experience an increase in strength and flexibility, a decrease in stress levels and tension in the muscles, and a feeling of mental clarity and peace.

Yoga counteracts the effects of stress in several ways, including the body’s biochemical responses. During and after practice, individuals experience a decrease in catecholamines, the hormones released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. Additionally, lowering levels of the hormone neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine creates a feeling of tranquility. By practicing gentle stretching, guided meditation and specific breathing techniques to deepen and lengthen the breath, the body’s nervous system and the mind’s emotions are calmed.

Yoga helps individuals learn to overcome stressful eating and unhealthy habits that can lead to negative body image. Yogis sleep better, lower their blood pressure and heal from emotional wounds faster. As a result, yoga promotes improved immune system functioning, which leads to less trips to the doctor.

Practicing yoga develops mindfulness, which promotes concentration crucial to academic success. Some yoga styles also utilize meditation techniques that aid in quieting the constant mind chatter that often underlies stress. Studies have shown that yoga can help students to improve their memory, learn more and improve their grades and overall success in classes.

The calming techniques of yoga can be experienced outside of the studio. Yogic breathing techniques can be done before and during a test, hand and neck exercises can be done at a desk or in the library, and you can do any number of poses even in your cramped dorm room, without disturbing your roommate. Regular practice is crucial for attaining long-lasting results.

Sangha Yoga Shala now offers a special discount for all college students with valid school identification: all classes are just $12. Monthly unlimited memberships are also available for $100 a month, or $75 a month per person when you share with a friend.

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