10 Undeniable Reasons Why Every College Student Should Practice Yoga

Life changes fast when you’re a college student. You meet new people, have new experiences, encounter new ideas, all while learning to be an adult, taking classes, working part time, trying to have a social life AND find time to take care of yourself. Let’s face it – that shit is hard to do!

Just like the growing pile of dirty clothes in your dorm room, your confidence will build with each day you practice yoga.

As students, we get pulled in so many directions – athletics, student groups, your new crush, schoolwork – all competing for your precious time. With so many things to do, it can be difficult to find balance and remain focused on what’s important to you.
But if you want to thrive in college, it’s important to make time to exercise, relax with friends, manage stress, and maintain a healthy balance between school and enjoying the freedom that comes with being away from home.

Life Advice From a College Student and Yoga Teacher

As a student and a yoga teacher on a major college campus, I know firsthand how much a healthy body supports a productive mind. If I don’t practice yoga regularly, it can really affect my performance in school and how I cope with the stresses of life as a student.

College is all about ‘finding yourself’ – and what that means is figuring out who you are, what you stand for, and how you identify as an individual.

In order to thrive, we need find activities that do more than just make us sweat, but also keep us grounded, help us stay healthy both physically and emotionally, and support a positive state of mind.
I see this same feeling in students who attend my yoga classes. Students come in feeling tired and stressed, and they leave with new energy and a calm mind to carry them into another challenging week of classes.

Physical Benefits College Students Gain From Practicing Yoga

Yoga is a mind and body practice that teaches us methods of coping with stress, finding presence, and becoming more self-aware. These are all things that are so important for every college student.

1. Exercise For Every Body

Yoga provides an inexpensive, convenient way to exercise for anyone. All you need is your body and a yoga mat to get started. The individual aspect of yoga lets you go at a pace that’s appropriate for you.
If you have the money for it, many yoga studios offer discounts for college students, but you can also find great yoga videos to practice at home. YouAligned offers new free classes every week and if you like that, YouAligned also offers yoga programs with multiple classes that break down to $5 or so per class (which if you don’t know, is a pretty sweet deal).

2. Better Sleep

Once we start moving and expending energy through yoga, it becomes easier to settle down for nourishing sleep. Poses like Legs Up the Wall (a soothing inversion) help relax the mind and prepare the body for rest.
We also learn breathing techniques that calm the body and soothe the mind. These techniques are awesome for sleep and also stressful times like exams or presentations at school.
If you need help falling asleep, sleeping better, or waking up feeling more refreshed, check out these poses and techniques specifically for improving sleep

3. Improve Digestion and Increased Metabolism

After exercise and sleep, we have to eat. But as a student, your diet might not always be ideal, so having a powerful digestive system and increased metabolism is important.
Yoga systematically enhances digestion and elimination by directing prana into the middle and lower abdomen. In simpler terms, powerful breathing and challenging yoga flows speed up the metabolism and support healthy digestion.
Poses like Energy Freeing Pose (or Apanasana) – where the abdomen is actively compressed by the legs and knees – or Lotus Pose (Padmasana) – where the heels press into the abdomen massage the internal organs of digestion – are good examples of poses that can improve digestion.
Breathing exercises like Skull Shining (where the abdomen is contracted at a rapid pace in sequence with the breath) can tone and strengthen the digestive organs, aiding the physical breakdown of food in the stomach and assimilation in the large and small intestines.
If you’re interested in learning more about how yoga can help with your digestion, check out 3 Ways Yoga Can Help Improve Your Digestion

4. Enhance Your Physical Appearance

When we exercise, sleep better and have healthy digestion, we not only feel better, but we look better too. The result of a steady yoga practice is a strong and toned body. Certain types of poses (like inversions) help you have clearer skin, a bright complexion, and a radiance that comes from within a happy, healthy body.
Yoga builds mental and physical strength, along with confidence and self-assurance. Confidence looks good on everyone – wear it proudly!


Mental and Emotional Benefits College Students Gain From Practicing Yoga

Being a student in the age of social media and hyperconnectivity can be stressful and emotionally draining. Your mental and emotional well being is directly connected to your physical health, and yoga provides different ways to support the subtle aspects of your mind, ego, and intellect.

1. Enhance Your Self-Confidence

While the goal of yoga is not just about being able to do a handstand, it can have a powerful effect on how you view yourself. Just a split second in a difficult balance on your feet or your hands can be the emotional boost you need that day, and just like the growing pile of dirty clothes in your dorm room, your confidence will build with each and every day of yoga practice.
Want to build your confidence the handstand way? Learn how to practice a handstand with this 20-minute free handstand tutorial video

2. Cultivate Your Sense of Self

Yoga creates a space to cultivate willpower, which helps overpower the negative chatter in our heads that tells us what we can and cannot do and replaces it with a strong sense of self.
This sense of self will stay with you off your yoga mat and can help you get through difficult classes and uncomfortable situations in life. College is all about ‘finding yourself’ – and what that means is figuring out who you are, what you stand for, and how you identify as an individual.
Yoga kickstarts this ability to find yourself and develop a self-awareness that leads to self-confidence, self-assurance, and a greater ability to navigate all aspects of your life.

3. Improved Focus and Mental Clarity

Want to get an A on your next test? When you balance on one foot, you must remain focused, or you’ll topple over. Learning to direct your focus in a yoga pose – first with your gaze and then with your mind – helps improve your focus.
In an age with more distractions than ever before, yoga will support your ability to stay focused and on track as student. This pays off when you’re studying, preparing for a test, or giving a presentation.

4. Maintain Your Sanity

You store memories and emotions throughout your body – not just in your brain. Your heart, hips and muscles can hold onto difficult memories and emotions that are hard to get past.
When you reach an area of difficulty in a yoga pose, it is directly related to your emotional state of being. Thankfully, yoga offers a safe and effective way to work into these areas of your body and by utilizing the breath, you can move through and beyond these emotional hindrances.
If you don’t believe me, trying holding a hip opener like Half-Pigeon Pose for 10 minutes on each side and then tell me if some shit did not come up. I know the first time I cried in yoga, it was during a Yin Yoga class full of hip openers.
Here’s a relaxing yoga sequence with extra advice for how to use yoga for emotional relief

5. Mindfulness and Better Yet, Heartfulness

The best thing about yoga is that it works. If you do the work, yoga will work on you. All you have to do is show up on your mat and do the practice, and it will absolutely change your life.
And this is why you go to college – to learn and experience the world that exists beyond our childhood bubbles.
Learning to communicate with the world from your heart will help you interact with others in a way that’s driven primarily by compassion and sincerity. This is so much more meaningful than letting your interactions be overwhelmed by the instinctual urges to find food, shelter, have sex, and reach a position of power.

Why Yoga is So Beneficial For Every Single College Student

Yoga can be a lifestyle. Beyond that, your yoga practice can offer guidance. Within the Eight Limbs of Yoga, there exists some pretty solid guidance for a young adult out discovering the world in college.

If you do the work, yoga will work on you.

As a college student, you’re probably already aware that college can be scary or overwhelming at times, which is why it can be very helpful to have a solid foundation of ethical ideals to fall back on when things get tough.
The Yamas and Niyamas, the first and second limbs of yoga, contain some are familiar virtues like honesty and refraining from stealing, while others are just good habits like cleanliness and not taking more than you need. So when you are faced with tough decisions, you can rely on the guidance you learn from yoga to help you make the right choice.
To learn more about these yogic principles check out the overview Learning the Yamas and Niyamas

College Students: Your Challenge is to Try Yoga For Yourself!

Now it’s up to you. Practice yoga and take control of your body, mind, and spirit. Free yourself from the habitualized tendencies of youth and make your own decisions so you can flex on those college classes with grace and ease.

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Alexander Berger

Alexander has been teaching yoga for almost 3 years and is a RYT 500. He is also a certified Nutritional Educator and natural chef, with a passion for permaculture. Alex is currently studying South Asian Religions & Languages at CU, as well as Jyotish and Ayurveda in his spare time.

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