By Marissa Linquist
Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing and meditation to help people relax, clear the mind and alleviate stress. It can improve mental clarity, increase body awareness, relax the mind, center attention, sharpen concentration, improve balance and improve physical fitness. This practice can be very beneficial for college students.
When practicing yoga in the comfort of one’s home, the individual is in complete control.
Rather than holding poses for a certain amount of time, beginners may choose to hold the poses for a specific number of inhalations and exhalations. By doing so, they will be able to hold each pose at their own pace.
Guided imagery can be incorporated into the meditation. This provides the opportunity to relax and explore the imagination to find places that are comforting to escape to when stressed. Guided imagery scripts can be found online but students should try to create one at some point so it is more beneficial to each individual’s preference.
Students can achieve mental clarity through yoga. Studies have shown that yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety and can enhance mood and overall sense of well-being.
Yoga can point out the tense positions they carry in their body throughout the day. Students will increase body awareness and learn how to quickly change position and focus on breathing to boost energy levels.
Controlled breathing is an important aspect of yoga. It can help control the body and quiet the mind. Students may incorporate meditation or relaxation into their practice; meditation can help students learn to be more mindful and aware of the present moment without judgment.
A combination of controlled breathing and centering themselves will make the body more comfortable with living in the moment.
KU offers a yoga course that begins with breathing exercises that help students become aware of their surroundings while also focusing on themselves. Sitting in a quiet room may seem difficult to some students but it helps students achieve a centered attention.
Studies show that meditation is associated with better focus. When meditating, one should focus on their breathing. Taking notice of the flow of their breaths is important. When studying begins to put pressure on students, they can simply focus on their breathing for a few moments to refocus and help students sharpen their concentration.
By bringing together physical and mental elements, yoga can help develop a peaceful balance. Practicing
yoga can result in improved balance, range of motion, flexibility and strength. Each individual has a different body with different abilities. Postures can be modified to suit each individual to help find proper balance.
Yoga can aid in improved fitness. Yoga poses are a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility. Poses can take many forms such as lying on the floor completely relaxed to more difficult poses that may stretch one’s physical limits. Studies have shown that certain poses can reduce fatigue. Controlled and deep breathing can provide the blood with more oxygen which will increase energy levels.
Yoga does not require any fancy or expensive equipment. Yoga mats cost around 10 dollars, the practice can be done on a towel or blanket if a yoga mat is not available.
Yoga has many styles and intensity levels that can be based upon the individual or group practicing. KU offers a one credit Hatha Yoga physical activity elective. This course could be beneficial to students struggling with stress management. It has a slower pace and easier movements to suit beginners and keep them relaxed.
Students can contact Dr. Hayduk, KU’s yoga class instructor, at Hayduk@kutztown.edu with questions regarding the course.
Students can also get more information at http://www.yogajournal.com or follow them on Instagram at yogajournal. Additional Instagram accounts to follow are: actionjacquelyn and lauren_bongiorno.