Eight in 10 college students experience frequent periods of stress, according to The American Institute of Stress, with university healthcare providers reporting that stress is the fourth most common mental health issue that students face today.
One way to relieve the tension in your life is to do yoga. There are several good yoga poses for stress, but this practice offers additional benefits as well.
Benefits of Yoga
Johns Hopkins shares that yoga is good for both your physical and mental health. Physically, developing a regular yoga practice helps improve your strength, balance, and flexibility. It even promotes greater heart health and can improve your sleep quality. If you have a chronic pain condition, such as low back pain or arthritis, yoga can help with that as well.
The mental health benefits of yoga include brighter moods, higher levels of energy, and better stress management—the latter of which is what we are going to focus on here. What are some of the most effective yoga poses for stress when trying to balance your college studies with all your other home and work obligations?
7 Best Yoga Poses for Stress in College Students
Keep in mind when doing these yoga poses for stress that it’s important to use proper form. This can help you get maximum benefits while also avoiding injury. Once you’re ready, here are a few poses that are relatively easy to do, making them beneficial for even the newest yoga practitioners.
- Corpse Pose (Savasana). Corpse pose looks a lot like you are playing dead, hence the name. To do it, lie on your back with your arms and legs extended out to the sides, and your head facing the ceiling. Close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly and smoothly. Relax your muscles progressively, starting at your head and working your way down your body. Stay in this pose until you’ve relaxed all muscle groups.
- Legs-up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani). This is a beneficial yoga pose for stress because it calms you physically and mentally. To start, lie on your back and slide your buttocks toward the wall, extending your legs up the wall and raising your feet toward the ceiling. Stay in this position for two to five minutes and feel the stress slip away.
- Easy Pose (Sukhasana). This pose involves sitting with your legs crossed so each foot sits directly below the opposite knee. When in this position, keep your back straight and shoulders down and back. Take deep relaxing breaths for roughly 60 seconds. Do this yoga pose for stress, and you may notice that you feel less exhausted, and possibly even less anxious.
- Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana). Bridge pose helps relieve anxiety and insomnia while making it easier to fight off fatigue. That makes it a good yoga pose for stress as these are some of its most common side effects. To do the Bridge pose, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet about hip-width apart. Your arms are at your side with your palms facing the floor. Inhale as you lift your hips toward the ceiling while pressing your shoulders down. Hold for six breaths, then return to the starting position.
- Child’s Pose (Balasana). This pose helps relax both the body and the mind, which is helpful when you’re feeling stressed. Kneel on a yoga mat or other cushioned surface, then sit back so your buttocks are resting on your heels. Bend forward at the hips and lean toward the floor as much as you comfortably can. If you’re able, bend until your chest is against your thighs and your forehead is against the floor. Breathe in and out six times, then return to the kneeling position.
- Cat Pose (Marjaryasana). If you tend to feel stress in your upper back and neck, this is a good yoga pose for you. Start by getting on your hands and knees. Exhale and round your back, as if pulling your belly button toward your spine. The top of your head should automatically point toward the floor. Hold for one or two seconds, then release. Do Cat pose six times.
- Standing Forward Fold Pose (Uttanasana). Because it helps ease fatigue, the Standing Forward Fold pose is a good yoga pose for stress. To start, stand with your back straight and reach toward the ceiling. Take a deep breath in and, as you exhale, bend forward slowly, keeping your knees bent slightly. If you can, place your palms against the floor. Breathe in and out six times, then return to the starting position.
Try one or all of these yoga poses for stress and see how you feel. Add them to your daily schedule to help keep your tension under control. And if you’re having trouble getting into the right form or position, ask a certified yoga instructor for help. You can find these fitness professionals locally as well as online.