The Benefits of Yoga: From School to Sleep

The origins of yoga can be traced back thousands of years, with connections to religion, health and enlightenment. It is an easy way to stay in shape, become more flexible and to reduce stress and anxiety. You can find yoga poses to help reduce symptoms of many afflictions, including asthma, neck and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fatigue, menstrual cramps, insomnia and much more. 

If you are feeling stressed with school and the pandemic, yoga can be beneficial to help relieve stress, anxiety and even depression. Even though it may not cure them, yoga can reduce the symptoms. Studies have shown that it can decrease the body’s secretion of cortisol, a stress hormone. Poses such as the boat pose, child’s pose and the lion pose can help reduce stress and anxiety. Poses such as bridge pose, dolphin pose and upward facing dog pose can boost endorphins, a hormone which reduces stress and pain in the body.        

Yoga can be beneficial for school and work as well since schools that incorporate yoga found that test scores increased, and gave workplaces a better sense of community. 

“Yoga is great for overall wellness. Most people think of yoga as working on flexibility and injury prevention, which it does help with. However, it also helps with circulation, improving organ functions, stress management, balance, coordination and stabilizer muscles. As a result of these benefits, yoga can also help improve sleep issues, hormonal imbalances and combat depression. The stress management aspect helps to improve memory and can help alleviate test anxiety” said Suzanne Schibi, a gym teacher at Masuk. She incorporates yoga into her classes, which many of her students ask for. Yoga can improve memory and mental clarity, helping students with schoolwork, and allows students to work through problems easier. Poses such as prayer pose, eagle pose and warrior pose II can encourage better mindsets to prime your mind for learning. 

If you find yourself awake late at night, scrolling through social media for hours on end, cat pose, cow pose, fire log pose and downward facing dog can help. Poses like these can promote the body’s production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. A 2005 study found that the group that practiced yoga fell asleep faster, stayed asleep longer and were better rested than other groups. 

The benefits of yoga are endless, and it does not matter how flexible or inflexible you may be, almost anyone can try it. Experts recommend starting with basic poses and working up to more challenging poses, such as headstands.

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