Yoga can provide college students with many benefits such as stress reduction, emotional wellness, flexibility, improved strength, enhancement of the immune system, and improved balance and postural alignment. Those are good things! Yoga is actually easy for anyone to practice, and you don’t have to be able twist into a pretzel!
Yoga Improves Concentration
The meditative practices of yoga will improve the ability of college students to concentrate. Focusing on studying and ignoring distractions such as a television, conversations, and loud music will, of course, result in better grades. According to a Time magazine article, due to advanced brain scanning technology, researchers are beginning to show that meditation directly affects the structure and function of the brain – changing it in ways that seem to increase attention span, improve memory, and sharpen focus. Richard Davidson, director of the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin, said, “Attention is the key to learning, and meditation helps you voluntarily regulate it.”
Yoga Enhances Mood
Wellesley College faculty yoga specialists co-authored a study examining the psychological benefits of yoga. The authors of the study found proof that yoga improves mood and decreases anxiety. This study looked at a neurotransmitter in the brain known as y-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. The authors determined that decreased levels of GABA correlate to depression and anxiety. They also report that the medical community is interested in learning how to increase GABA in order to combat depression. One of the researchers, Liz Owen, stated, “Yoga, just the practice of yoga, increases GABA levels.” She also said, “Yoga breathing practices are so easy and simple. You could be sitting in a stressful classroom situation and you could just take a yoga inhale, do a yoga exhale, and it might make a difference.”
Yoga Strengthens the Body
Another recent yoga study of college-aged men and women (between 18 and 27 years of age) who participated in two yoga sessions every week for eight weeks saw a 19% to 31% increase in arm strength and a 28% increase in leg strength.
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Yoga Relieves Stress
According to some experts, stress is the #1 trigger of ailments in peoples’ physical, emotional, and endocrinal systems. Practicing yoga is a great way to reduce stress caused by academic pressures. Yoga helps college students avoid stress-induced eating and it helps them sleep better. It can give students a sense of balance and mental clarity.
By practicing yoga, college students will improve their mood, strengthen their body, relieve stress, and concentrate better. This will certainly help them make the most of their college experience!