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Mental Health

5 Yoga Poses to Cure Hangovers, Class Stress & More

Every collegiette has a massive “TO-DO” list (or a few) taped to the fridge or tucked in a planner. 

TO DO:

  • Finish homework (Actually…Start the homework…)
  • Call parents back!
  • PAY BILLS! (Last month’s too)
  • Revisit New Year’s Resolutions…
  • CLEAN!

Collegiette™ life can be, in a word, exhausting.  And on the weekend, rest escapes us as we have piles of books to read and miles to run at the gym. After catching up on last week’s Grey’s Anatomy on a Sunday morning, we begin to realize the unproductive nature of our day and a panicky and sickly feeling slowly begins to surface that causes our palms to sweat, our faces to break out, and our fingers to fidget.  This can only mean one thing: stress.  It’s an unavoidable side effect of collegiette™ life but rest assured, there are ways to help suppress this dizzying, nauseating, hair-raising experience.  By using a few yoga moves, it is possible to give yourself at least a few minutes of you time every day, which is essential to keeping a level head.  Practicing simple yoga poses and breathing techniques can assure that you’ll have at least a few minutes to sort through the depths of your frizzed out mind while you’re on the move. 

1. Scenario: Hungover on a Sunday morning. Pose: Chair Twist.

There is nothing worse than waking up feeling nauseous on a Sunday morning when you know you have a paper to write.  Instead of laying in bed for the majority of the day, try a chair twist to give yourself an internal massage and be on the road to recovery!

  • Start with the right side of your body facing the back of the chair and hold the sides of the chair back with your hands at shoulder height.  Make sure your hips and torso are facing forward and your shoulders are relaxed down.
  • As you inhale, press your sitting bones into the seat of the chair and the top of your head toward the ceiling. 
  • As you exhale, twist to the right from the base of your spine. Stretch your torso as you did previously before the first twist, and on your next exhale, twist up the middle of your spine without pulling on the chair as you twist.
  • On your final exhale twist up through your upper spine. Turn your head to look over your right shoulder and hold the pose for about a minute.  Slowly return to your starting position. 
  • Repeat these same steps on the other side.  Twisting massages your abdominal organs and
  • improves digestion!


2. Scenario:
At the library looking over next week’s assignments.  Pose: Reverse Prayer

It is important to give yourself a second to calm down and compose yourself.  Reverse Prayer stretches your wrists and shoulders (which are probably tense and achy) while allowing you to breath and work through those knots in your neck. 

  • To start, bring your hands to your lower back with your palms facing each other. 
  • Bring your hands as close together as you can in a prayer position and bring your fingertips up your back as far as you can.  Hold for about 30 seconds (or however long feels good!) while concentrating on your breath.  For those 30 seconds, allow yourself to forget about the work that is not getting done and the waiting texts that need a reply.  It’s important to give yourself just a few minutes a day of breathing exercises!  Feel refreshed?  We thought so.


3. Scenario
: In class, when you realize you did NOT do your homework assignment.  Pose: Neck Stretch

You’re sitting in class when your professor asks everyone to pass Monday night’s assignment forward.  Assignment?  What assignment?  For a moment, you panic and try to think of excuses you can recite at the end of class.  Relax. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do but wait for the 50 minutes to painfully drag on. Swami Shivapremananda, in Yoga for Stress Relief, says, “one of the main areas where physical tension accumulates is in the middle of your shoulders and at the nape of your neck.  By contracting and stretching these areas, you can release tension throughout your whole body.”  Try this simple neck stretch.  You’ll be able to relieve yourself of the stress caused from not completing that homework assignment.

  • Sit with your shoulders and back straight and keep your arms loose by your sides. (Make sure you are not clenching any of your shoulder or neck muscles—they should be loose and relaxed.)
  • As you inhale, move your head backward.
  • As you exhale, move your head all the way forward (make sure you don’t move your body forward) until your chin is pressed into your chest. 
  • Repeat this two or three times.
  • Lift your head up as your inhale back to a normal sitting position.

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4. Scenario: Checking your bank account at home before a night out. Pose: Child’s Pose

I spent how much?!  Checking your bank account can be daunting and can make you very anxious. So what do you do after you realize you desperately need a job?  Before scrambling to Craigslist, breathe for a second.  Child’s Pose is a resting pose that stretches your spine and helps to completely relax your back, neck, and shoulders.


  • Start with your knees and hands on the ground—both about shoulder width apart.  You should be creating a table top with your back.
  • As you exhale, sit back onto your heels and lay your upper body on your thighs.
  • Rest your head on the floor.
  • Stretch your arms in front of you while stretching your shoulders.
  • Spread your fingers wide.
  • On your next exhale, press your hips further toward your heels.  You should feel a great stretch along your spine!

 


5. Scenario: Waiting for your date to arrive.  Pose:  Easy Pose.

It is hard to relax when you are waiting for your date to ring the buzzer on a Saturday night.  You question your outfit, you wonder why he’s late, and you feel like time is passing slowly.  Give yourself a few minutes before your date to calm down, regain your composure, and leave your apartment confident and stress free!  Easy Pose is a calming pose that helps you focus on your breathing.

  • Sit with your legs crossed in front of you.
  • Draw your feet towards you, as close as you can get them with it still feeling comfortable!
  • Place your hands on your knees with your palms facing up.
  • Relax your shoulders down, and back up, and loosen your chest.
  • Make sure your spine is lengthened and your gaze is straight ahead.
  • Close your eyes and hold the pose for 1-5 minutes concentrating on each inhale and exhale.

These poses can help clear your mind as they allow you to have a few minutes of relaxation while on the move.  As hard-working collegiettes™ it is important to remember that stress can never get the best of us!  Finding time to meditate through these simple yoga poses can help ensure that you’ll find some inner peace throughout the semester! 
 

Sources:

Group, Marangraphics. Maran Illustrated Yoga. City: Course Technology Ptr, 2005.

Shivapremananda, Swami.  Yoga for Stress Relief. New York: Random House, 1997.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/01/too-much-to-drink-try-yoga/

Maddie is a junior at Boston University. She is studying English and Art History and is excited to be a part of the Her Campus Team! Maddie is from Chester, Vermont and loves the outdoors. She is an enthusiastic skier, runner and student, and is invested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle at school!
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