Waking up to the sound of my 7 a.m. alarm, I lay in bed for another 15 minutes before finally bringing myself to climb out of bed. I throw on some clothes and make sure I have the essentials for my morning. Mat? Check. Protein bar? Check. Water bottle? Check. Notebook? Check. I head out the door just in time to catch the bus to class.
At the beginning of my semester, I was not so sure how much I would like to get up early for a PE class, but to my surprise, I started to love starting my day with yoga. As someone who struggles with stress and anxiety, my yoga class has been a great way to ease into my day before I continue my other three classes. I am able to get my body moving in a way that wakes me up but keeps me relaxed.
Many may have heard that yoga decreases stress, depression, and anxiety and for me, it has done just that. Yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which allows us to rest and digest. By relaxing our minds and shifting our awareness to our bodies, we are able to feel more in touch with ourselves.
My personal favorite pose for relaxation is balasana, also known as the “child’s pose.” This is a resting pose that releases tension in the back, shoulders, and chest. It also helps relieve dizziness and fatigue, which can be feelings experienced with anxiety.
Yoga not only aids mental health but physical health as well. I struggle with lower back pain as a result of poor posture and poses like Bhujangasana, or the “cobra” pose help alleviate my achiness. Yoga can lower cortisol levels in our bodies, which lessens inflammation, increases digestion, and decreases chronic fatigue.
I find that the days I have yoga class, I tend to be more productive because my mind feels like it’s starting on a new page and ready to tackle the day’s tasks. With the hustle and bustle of college life, yoga can lower our resting heart rates, promote better breathing, and help us build awareness of our bodies. These are all important to making sure that we keep our minds and bodies healthy.
If you don’t have the opportunity to join a local yoga class, I encourage you to start by following along with Youtube videos. “Yoga With Bird” is a great instructor that uses a variety of poses in her 10-minute lessons. If you dedicate 10-15 minutes out of your day to focus on yourself, hopefully, you will start to feel much better, physically and mentally.