Back To School: How Yoga Can Help Students Maintain Good Mental Health
As school comes back around in full swing it’s important for students to maintain their mental health. Now more than ever, there is a ton of stress on students to achieve well in school. There is also so much information out there it can be hard to stay focused on school work and not get distracted.
Yoga is proven to ease the mind, help with concentration and reduce overall stress. Movement in general can be great in combatting depressions, stress and anxiety. Yoga goes even one step further by calming the parasympathetic (rest and digest) system through it’s deep diaphragmatic breathing practice and linking the body with the mind. The positive benefits of yoga on mental health have actually made it an important practice tool of psychotherapy as well.
Here are some poses that will help to maintain good mental health and help students navigate the stress and pressure homework and being back in school can bring.
Bow pose is known for helping lessen stress and high levels of anxiety, as well as reducing panic attacks. Heart opening postures such as bow can help fight fatigue and encourage good posture. Practicing this pose can give you a strong mindset to accomplish your goals. This pose will reduce stress allow you to focus on the task at hand. I imagine stringing a bow and arrow and keeping your vision on the bullseye. Take a break after school or wake up 15 minutes earlier to add this yoga pose to your daily routine.
Bound Angle Pose
Bound angle pose is perfect for winding down and letting go of the stress of the day. Also known as cobblers pose, this posture has been said to relieve mild depression, anxiety, and fatigue. The main benefit of this pose is to cure constant fatigue when practiced daily. Adding this into your morning and nightly routine, will help you be awake and alert. I personally love this pose to kickstart my mornings.
Big Toe Pose
Standing forward folds calm the brain and can help relieve that back to school stress. Grabbing the big toes is a great forward variation that helps us feel contained, which can reduce anxiety. When the pose is practiced regularly, headaches and migraines lessen. Some yogis say this pose can help lessen insomnia and aid in a good nights rest. Try this posture at the end of the day to wind down before bed…think of it like brain drain.
Camel pose is great for energy; and is a great mid-day pose to practice. Camel pose is perfect for when you’re taking a homework break; or a mid-morning boost before your day gets chaotic and crazy. Like bow pose, camel is a heart opening, anti-depressant posture that helps open us up and keep us from feeling depressed or lethargic.
Bridge pose can be used for just about everything! Need an energy booster? A stress reliever? A motivational tick? A good night sleep? A minute of relaxation and tranquility? This yoga pose can help with all of those things. Try adding this pose to your routine two to three times a week. I love the way it relieves my low back and opens up my hip flexors, all which get tight when sitting a desk all day.
Back to school can be a busy time for everyone. These poses are good for students and more! Maintaining good mental health is super important for students so they can feel confident at school and not get depressed, anxious or overly stressed. Yoga is one of the easiest, most efficient, and affordable ways to stay sane and perform your best academically.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is currently teaching yoga with Peloton. She is the star of over 100 videos, seen in several magazines and tv shows and is a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!