College is all about transitions. The transition from being a kid to an adult, from living at home to on your own, and from dependence to independence. All of these big life changes bring excitement, but fear and stress also come along for the ride. Learning to manage your own schedule with everything that entails is challenging by itself; classes, study time, sports or campus activities, socializing, eating, sleeping, and exercise is a lot to fit in. Many of us need to establish a routine to maintain sanity as we maneuver through our busy schedules.
Yoga is a lifelong practice that will benefit everyone. College is a great time and place to add this practice into your routine. Many habits you create during this period of time will stay with you as you move into early adulthood. Learning to develop positive ones is one of the most important opportunities college can provide.
Here are six reasons every single college student should practice yoga.
Yoga will help you change the way you look, but more importantly it alters how your body feels and responds to the pressures of college life. Yoga will help you move in a physically challenging way, but in a safe space. You can experience better digestion, deeper breathing, and of course, the confidence that comes with improved appearance. When you feel better inside, and look great outside, you will develop a better relationship with your body overall.
Stress Relief & Sleep
Practicing mindfulness and meditation will help you learn to let go of the stresses of your new schedule. Yoga will help you learn to cope with stressful situations. Instead of panicking when under pressure, you’ll develop the ability to remain calm and breathe through the tough times. It will also help you sleep better and although most students will end up pulling an all-nighter or two, that’s not sustainable. We need sleep to restore and recharge our bodies and minds, and most of us don’t get enough.
Not only will this practice help you develop a better relationship with yourself, but it will also help you build better relationships with others. By spending time focusing on yourself, you will learn how to communicate better with others. Yoga helps develop an attitude with which you won’t feel the need to judge others, and will open up to sharing meaning experiences with others. This will carry through into you adult years too and help you be a better communicator in many situations.
While college comes with a number of opportunities, the most important piece of the pie is academics. That’s what college is for! The ability to focus, concentrate, and think creatively will help you succeed in your college experience. Not only will a physical asana practice benefit you, but meditation or mindfulness will also be of great help. Learning to breathe, move and calm your mind will help you maintain better focus which will improve your overall ability to perform academically.
Yes, even failure is a positive thing sometimes. Yoga will teach you how to fail, how to fall and get back up, physically and mentally. Not only will your physical practice teach you about your body’s limits but it will teach you about your mind’s ability to control what you perceive as limits. Yoga will teach you about what it means to say “I can’t do that” and then realize you in fact most certainly can. By falling, failing, crashing and even burning we learn to rise from the ashes, spread our wings and soar to new heights. Failure is one of the most important lessons we can learn and having a safe space to learn it in allows us to be just a little bit more open to the full experience.
The Sanskrit word “Dharma” can be translated to mean purpose. One of the gifts of this healing practice of yoga is to learn to seek out our purpose. Instead of settling for a major we don’t really want because we think it’s the only way we will ever get a good job, this practice can help you ask some hard questions about what it is you really want out of your life. By taking the time to really be introspective about what you feel your purpose is will help you find your way along that path to the realization of that purpose. Most people don’t stop to really listen to the messages the Universe is sending them about their Dharma but with a practice of yoga and mindfulness you will learn how to stop, listen, and feel for this deep calling.
College is a time of experimenting, challenging yourself, and learning to thrive. Finding a practice that will keep expanding with you as you grow is big step in feeling fulfilled. College doesn’t have to be all about the stresses of grades, performance, and what it is you are going to do when you graduate. College can be a time to really allow yourself to try new things, to fail and to fly and creating time, space, and understanding for yourself is a beautiful gift to give your future self.
About the Author
Clarissa is a E-RYT® 200, RYT® 500, YACEP® teaching since 2014 and practicing since 2007. She travels presenting at festivals, conferences, & leading retreats through @lightthesparkwithinretreats with her partner Erin @yogi.erun. Their next retreat is Greece 2019! Clarissa teaches Vinyasa style classes with some Ashtanga influence and enjoys creating a variety of workshops and courses. She has had a dedicated Ashtanga practice for over 5 years that has fueled her desire to learn and share the power of yoga with as many people as she can! Clarissa lives in Spearfish, South Dakota with her husband Wade and their rescue pup Inkling. And she loves being a YogaClub Box Tribe leader and the favorite brands she’s received are, VIMMIA, Onzie, and Free People, though she can’t wait to try all the other brands!