Take a breather: Practice yoga


Photo courtesy of Scarlett Constand '16 and Lily Kubek '17

By Scarlett Constand ’16 and Lily Kubek ’17 | Opinion Editor and Copy Editor

Finals are looming near, and stress levels among students are skyrocketing. In order to relax before and after grueling study sessions, we should all practice yoga.

Juniors have immense pressure building from the ominous presence of senior year, and seniors, specifically those deferred from the colleges of their dreams, have a lot to prove with their semester grades. Finals are a huge part of those grades. For some, that’s where it all comes down to finals. With anxiety levels boiling over, students need an outlet to release some of the negative vibes.

With that comes the practice of yoga. Students can thoroughly connect their mind, body and spirit, and ultimately rid themselves of any troubling, toxic thoughts through slow, steady stances and movements.

There are many focuses of yoga, including strength, flexibility, control, and breathing. Each pose is designed to target at least one of those areas. Choose the poses that meet your needs, not the ones that look “cool.” Poses should not strain your body excessively, and any pain means you’re pushing yourself too much. Stances like “cat and cow” and “child’s pose” are meant to warm up, and give a slow stretch. You should never go right into practicing yoga without first stretching your muscles.

Many teachers encourage students to not give into pressure and attempt to do complicated poses that only experts can successfully do anyway. There’s no need to hurt yourself for the sake of looking like a polished professional.

Take things nice and slow, at your own pace. Nobody is chasing you. You are your own individual with personal goals and limitations. Listen to your body.

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed throughout the course of this stressful week, come take a yoga class at Living Waters, located on the Hill, or if you prefer hot yoga, the Yoga Shelter, located in the Village. Or if you prefer to stay home, watch a Youtube video or feel free to follow along with the yoga video listed below.

Study hard, work hard, relieve yourself of stress–everything will work itself out in the end.


Virtual yoga tutorial step-by-step:

  1. Sit cross-legged with hand to heart center for a nice warm up stretch. Breath slowly and deeply through your nose.
  2. Go into Crescent Warrior with legs spread wide, balancing on the ball of your extended foot. Rest that foot flat on the mat to move into Warrior II. Bend your back and reach an arm to the sky for Reversed Warrior.
  3. Reposition your feet and position your legs straight, bending down, to go into Waterfall for a thorough quad stretch. From there, twist your shoulders and reach an arm to the sky, looking up.
  4. Rest your hand on the mat and lift a leg as far into the air as possible, without straining yourself. If your balance is adequate, take your hands off of the mat and reach them forward or to the side for Airplane.
  5. Start with a simple Plank and ease your body slowly down into Up Dog, giving your back and chest a good stretch, breathing deeply.
  6. On your knees, bend your spine backwards and grab one, or both, ankles to be in the Camel position. Reach an extended arm to the sky and look up.
  7. Take a variation of Pigeon and stretch your torso, taking time to also feel the stretch in your thighs. Go into another variation by going deep into Runner’s Lunge, resting your forearms on the mat if possible. Afterwards, bend one leg and lay over it to go into the traditional version of Pigeon. The Splits is for those feeling adequately stretched and advanced.
  8. End peacefully in the cross-legged position with hands heading to heart center for a relaxing end to a great workout. Namaste.