8 Yoga Poses to Relieve College Stress

Stress is a huge part of college life. Every day we have to time manage school work, jobs, internships, extracurricular activities, and of course, social lives. Regardless of your scenario, there’s a way to prevent becoming overwhelmed.

We reveal eight yoga poses that will help you relax and maintain your every day stresses.

Every college student has a massive “TO-DO” list (or a few) taped to the fridge or tucked in a planner.

TO DO:

Finish homework (Actually…Start the homework…)
Call parents back!
PAY BILLS! (Last month’s too)
Revisit New Year’s Resolutions…
CLEAN!

College life can be, in a word, exhausting. And on the weekend, rest escapes us as we have piles of books to read and miles to run at the gym. After catching up on last week’s Grey’s Anatomy on a Sunday morning, we begin to realize the unproductive nature of our day and a panicky and sickly feeling slowly begins to surface that causes our palms to sweat, our faces to break out, and our fingers to fidget. This can only mean one thing: stress. It’s an unavoidable side effect of college life but rest assured, there are ways to help suppress this dizzying, nauseating, hair-raising experience. By using a few yoga moves, it is possible to give yourself at least a few minutes of you time every day, which is essential to keeping a level head. Practicing simple yoga poses and breathing techniques can assure that you’ll have at least a few minutes to sort through the depths of your frizzed out mind while you’re on the move.

1. Chair Cat-Cow Stretch

Come to sit on a chair with the spine long and both feet on the floor. Place your hands on your knees or the tops of your thighs.

On an inhale, arch your spine and roll your shoulders down and back, bringing your shoulder blades onto your back. This is cow position.

On an exhale, round your spine and drop your chin to your chest, letting the shoulder and head come forward. This is cat position.

Continue moving between cow on the inhalations and cat on the exhalations for five breaths.

2. Chair Raised Hands Pose – Urdhva Hastasana

On an inhalation, raise your arms toward the ceiling.

Allow your shoulder blades to slide down your back as you reach upwards with your fingertips. Anchor your sit bones in your chair seat and reach up from there.

3. Chair Extended Side Angle – Utthita Parsvakonasana

  • After your final forward bend, stay folded.

    Bring your left fingertips to the floor on the outside of your left foot.

    Open your chest as you twist to the right on an inhale, bringing your right arm and gaze up at the ceiling. This is your chair version of extended side angle pose. Hold here for several breaths. Bring the right arm down on an exhale.

    If your left-hand doesn’t come easily to the floor, place a block under it or bring it to your left knee instead and twist from there.​

    Do the same position with the right arm down and the left arm up.

  1. Chair Pigeon – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Come back up to sit.

Bring your right ankle to rest on your left thigh, keeping the knee in line with your ankle as much as possible. Hold this chair pigeon for three to five breaths.

You may forward bend to intensify the stretch if you like. Repeat with the left leg.

  1. Chair Spinal Twist – Ardha Matsyendrasana

Come to sit sideways on the chair, facing to the left.

Twist your torso toward the left, holding onto the back of the chair, for a spinal twist.

Lengthen your spine on each inhale and twist on each exhale for five breaths.

Move your legs around to the right side of the chair and repeat the twist to the right side.

Spinal Twist in a Chair

6. Chair Warrior  – Virabhadrasana 

On an exhale, open up the arms with the right arm coming forward and the left arm going back.

Draw the left hip back and turn the torso to the left, so that it is aligned with the front of the chair.

Gaze out over the right fingertips and hold warrior II for three breaths.

7. Reverse Warrior

Let the left arm come down the left leg and lift the right arm up to the ceiling on an inhale for reverse warrior. Hold for three breaths.

Bring both legs to the front of the chair before coming to sit sideways on the chair facing left and going through the series of three warrior poses on the left side.

Reverse Warrior in a Chair

8. Final Relaxation: Chair Savasana

Take a few minutes to sit with your eyes closed and hands in your lap at the end of your practice. This seated savasana will help your body absorb all the good effects of the poses you have done and transition you into the rest of your day.

These poses can help clear your mind as they allow you to have a few minutes of relaxation while on the move.  As hard-working collegiettes™ it is important to remember that stress can never get the best of us!  Finding time to meditate through these simple yoga poses can help ensure that you’ll find some inner peace throughout the semester!