Why You Should Make Time for Yoga during Finals

With the holiday season comes warm and fuzzy feelings of pumpkin flavors, hot chocolate, oversized sweaters, and extended family parties.  For students at SHU these emotions are unfortunately coupled with the stress of finals.  There is no official way to avoid the anxiety of these exams, but practicing yoga will significantly reduce both mental and physical pain.

“Yoga? I don’t have time for the Walsh Gym during finals!” You might say as you frantically cram for exams.  But yoga will help calm you down, providing you with a better state of mind to remember information. The actual movement of the practice can help solve the neck cramps, back aches, finger pains, and numb butts that come with studying.  These issues are resolved by the stretching and blood flow that occur while transitioning in and out of different yoga poses.  

More importantly, the breathing techniques that are coupled with a yoga practice contribute to calming the mind.  Everyone needs a study break to regroup mentally. Yoga's definition is the practice of invigorating the body in order to calm the mind.

At the end of every practice, the class takes a number of minutes to conclude in what is called, “savasana”.  This pose consists of laying with one’s back on the mat with their palms face up at their sides— the only body part that should be moving is the abdomen (please don’t forget to breath).  During this simpler pose, one can/should push their daily thoughts out of their mind; the goal is to think about absolutely nothing.  This is a healthy and refreshing difference from the busyness of finals week where a million thoughts are swirling through the brain with each passing second.

If you’re still unsure about closing the book for an hour to clear your mind, just think about a few of the other benefits.  Practicing poses where the heart is above the head can help cure headaches, head colds, and congestion.  Poses that incorporate opened hips and involve stomach muscles help menstrual cramps.  And who doesn’t want the extra ab workout and great skarm (skinny arm) that come along with practicing yoga!?  Everyone needs a study break to regroup mentally— why not take that break by stimulating the body to calm the mind and get out of the finals funk?  Good luck and Namaste!