Unwind And Reduce Stress With Yoga: 5 Powerful Reasons To Strut The Down Dog

You might think yoga and college don’t exactly go together. Rush week certainly isn’t ‘tranquil’ to say the least, and if you like to rage every night weekend, feng shuing your room isn’t at the top of your priorities. You could be preoccupied with getting some Z’s, but perhaps you should consider getting some zen. Today’s post is all about yoga and why you should do it. As little as 15 minutes of yoga a day can provide some wonderful health and wellness benefits.

1.     Weight Loss

Yep, it’s true. Yoga can help you lose weight. You might think the slow movements and postures ain’t got nothing on your elliptical sesh or kickboxing class. But even slowly paced yoga burns more calories than lying on the couch and watching reruns of HIMYM. More importantly, yoga can help get your hormones in check, lowering fat-storing cortisol levels. Even holding postures like downward facing dog for 30-60 seconds are reported to bring fresh blood to your thyroid, the gland which controls your metabolism.

2.     Focusing on the Present

In college (and arguably life), it seems like we’re either dwelling on the past or anxious about the future. But have you ever stopped thinking about your ex or that tailgate this weekend and instead focused on what you’re doing right this minute? It’s much harder than you’d think. Practicing yoga for the last five years has taught me to quiet those impulsive voices of the past and future that only get in the way of my success. Consider trying yoga if you’re looking for a way to get focused on what really matters in your life and not get bogged down in trivial problems like an upcoming exam or a stressful internship.

3.     Better Sleep

Ever have a weekend where you’re up all night and sleep all day? Whether you’ve pulled an all-nighter at the library or watched the sun rise with your friends at a party, chances are your sleep schedule is all messed up. A little yoga before bed could help you unwind and relax, making getting to sleep much easier. Yoga is also a great way to start your day! A 10 minute deep meditation and a few sun salutations could be all you need to wake up and feel energized.

4.     Less Stress

Between classes, extracurricular activities, drama with your friends, and a formal that you STILL don’t have a date for, it would be an understatement to say college is stressful. Yoga’s focus on breath work and staying in the present moment has helped many people reduce stress in their lives. Remember that stress isn’t just some nagging force that makes you want to pull your hair out and binge on chocolate. It creates an inflammatory response in the body that could lead to heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic disease. If hearing the potential side effects of stress doesn’t stress you out already, it’s time to hit the mat!

5.     You’ll Have a Real Excuse To Wear Yoga Pants

This last reason is part for kicks and part for real. College isn’t college without tank tops, leggings, and yoga pants. But wouldn’t it be cool if your outfit wasn’t just comfortable, but actually had a purpose? Put that semi-appropriate-for-college outfit to work and practice what you preach by doing a little yoga every now and then. Think of it this way—you’re already dressed and ready to go!

Yoga isn’t just some nerdy exercise your radical environmentalist roommate does. It’s become a pretty popular way to build strength, reduce stress, and feel better about yourself. You don’t need to take some super advanced or complicated class—those crazy handstands and pretzel-like postures you see can take years of practice! There are studios and classes held all over the place, so you can find a program that works for your fitness abilities and schedule. Put aside the ‘I don’t have time!’ and ‘I just literally can’t’ bullshit excuses and get your flow on today.

Photo Courtesy via Flickr

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