Five reasons why you should take up yoga

Many people don’t see yoga as a valid workout because yoga is a relaxing and fairly stationary exercise that isn’t on par with other routines (such as jogging or lifting weights). However, this notion is very wrong. Yoga has many wonderful benefits for both the body and the mind, all while working up a sweat. So “become a tree” and read these five reasons why you should take up yoga immediately.

1) It’s an incredible stress reliever.

Students are just generally stressed this time of year. Sure, the weather is getting warmer and the sun is sticking around longer, but the impending doom that is finals week is right around the corner. Stress is a very dangerous thing. It can mess with sleeping and eating habits, causing one to rapidly gain or lose weight. It can raise blood pressure and mess with heart function. It can even cause anxiety attacks which are highly alarming. All of this trauma can be dramatically alleviated by as few as20 minutes a day of yoga.

2) It boosts your immune system.

While the worst of the winter has passed, it’s very common, for college students especially, to get sick this time of year. With everyone opting to stay up and finish papers or study rather than get a full night’s sleep, there’s bound to be a cold or two that will catch up with even the most health conscious of people. Yoga can help keep you from missing too much class so close to finals by relieving stress (which leaves the immune system vulnerable to viruses), opening up airways (to improve breathing,) and draining nasal passages (to avoid sinus infections).

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Photo of Radford student. Photo by: Caroline Leggett

3) It helps you focus.

Yoga goes hand in hand with meditation, which centers around the practice of clearing one’s head and focusing on breathing. This mental exercise, if done frequently enough, can significantly improve your focus for studying and being more alert in class.

4) It makes you happy!

By increasing serotonin levels in the brain and improving the immune system, yoga makes you feel better inside and out — therefore making you a happier person! If that’s not enough of a reason to give it a try, I don’t know what is.

5) It helps you sleep.

Relaxation techniques used in yoga are proven to help you get a better night’s sleep, which any college student knows is invaluable. Having a better night’s sleep will improve every aspect of your life, from your academic performance to your social life.

In addition to all of these benefits, yoga is also terrific for building strength and burning calories. So grab a yoga mat and head over to the gym to grab a class schedule.