Relax and Focus: Yoga for Exam Stress


The Shakti Yoga Wheel® Yoga For Exam Stress

 

Relaxation and clarity are key benefits of yoga that have been recognized for thousands of years. Taking the time each day to calm and center yourself helps you to destress and keep your focus - things which you may feel are in short supply in the run up to exam season. Whether you’ve started looking towards summer finals or are more concerned about a test just round the corner, exam stress can strike anyone. Even while you’re still learning new material, revision and exam practice is never too far from your mind - especially if it’s going to have an impact on your college applications or a job offer. It’s important to realize though that a key part of exam preparation actually has nothing to do with the course material: your frame of mind and general mood.

The benefits of yoga for stress

Yoga combines stretches and strength exercises with breathing, meditation, and relaxation, helping both the body and the mind to destress. Medical studies have shown that yoga can help to reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of stress hormones in young people taking exams. Forward bending poses increase blood flow to the head, and deep breathing increases oxygen in the blood: both resulting in a more relaxed, capable, and focussed mind. Find a routine which works for you - some types of yoga are more physical than others, and a more meditative and breathing focussed approach might be best to start with to really help you relax. 

Taking care of yourself

Taking a holistic approach to your health and wellbeing during exam season is a good way to reduce stress and stay focussed. 

  • Sleep well: try setting an extra alarm at bed time to remind you to get some rest, as good sleep is essential for concentration and memory.

  • Remove distractions from your study area so that you stay focussed - try putting your phone on silent or leave it in another room.

  • Take a break and get up: do yoga, meditate, go for a walk, or listen to music. Something to give your brain a total break from your studies so that you go back refreshed.

  • Eat healthy meals designed to fuel your body and mind, and drink plenty of water. Takeout might seem like a quick and easy option but processed, oily, salty foods can make you feel dull and tired.

There is a fine line between being prepared and being over prepared - try to mix up your studying with practice questions, flashcards, and discussions to stop it getting boring. 

Always remember to breathe deeply and evenly, in through your nose and out through your mouth - this simple action can really help to reduce feelings of stress and nerves. Exam season can be intense and tiring, so give yourself the best chance at success by practising yoga and meditation for relaxation.

Author Jane Sandwood

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