May 15, 2019
Yoga for Exam Stress
Stress and anxiety is a natural response at exam time, it is completely normal. However, high levels of stress at such a vital time could hinder performance. Finding the time to manage excess stress and maintain a healthy balance between stress and relaxation will help you remain calm and focussed when the pressure is turned up.
Yoga helps to focus the mind and naturally reduces stress and anxiety, which is perfect for exam nerves. Some practices take just minutes to perform, so they do not eat into any valuable revision time.
Yoga is an affordable natural option and helps to manage stress. Yoga requires little equipment; a yoga mat is your main investment. Once you learn techniques you can practise yoga at a time and place that is most convenient to you. Yoga works to bring balance to the whole body. You don’t need to commit to a lengthy practise just fifteen minutes a day of gentle yoga will have a positive impact on your well-being, especially during exam time.
Anyone can practise some form of yoga. Sitting with a straight spine breathing slowly and completely is yoga and very beneficial.
Learn to Breathe
Yoga teaches good breath control. By learning to breathe deeply and fully you can use the technique whenever required to help calm a restless mind and reduce some of the symptoms of anxiety.
Breathing slowly before answering questions provides a space for you to gather your thoughts and think more clearly.
Many studies show that deep, slow breathing can help manage nerves and avoid panic attacks.
Before an exam
Find somewhere quiet or where you can take a moment to be by yourself. Either sit on the floor, in a firm chair or stand with your feet grounded. Make sure that your spine is straight. Breathe slowly in and out through your nose, feel your lungs filling with air from the bottom up and emptying as you exhale from the top down. Bring all of your attention to your breath, notice the impact that slowing down your breathing and breathing completely has on both your body and mind.
Your mind will become calmer and more focussed, your body will soften and relax, if your heart was beating a little faster than usual it should normalise again.
Breathe in to a count of 3 and then breathe out to a count of 3, you might find that you can lengthen this to 5, never force your breath just let it flow smoothly.
Continue with this technique for as long as required.
After an Exam
If your exam involved sitting still for a long period of time, your body will really benefit from a few gentle postures that stretch the body.
Try lying on your back and drawing your knees in towards your chest, breathe slowly in and out through your nose, when you feel ready and perform a simple spinal twist.
To do this remain on your back and place the soles of your feet onto the floor, take your arms out to the sides level with your shoulders and on the ground with your palms facing up, inhale as you exhale let your knees fall to the right and turn your head to the left, as you inhale return to your starting position and as you next exhale let your knees fall to the left and turn your head to the right. Continue like this for twenty complete breaths allowing your knees to fall to alternate sides.
Science has revealed that stretching can help reduce stress, feelings of anxiety and nervousness, this makes yoga the ideal activity during stressful situations.
Feeling Anxious – here’s a quick fix.
Here’s a technique to try when you feel a little anxious. Start be slowing your breathing down and becoming aware of your breath. When you feel ready inhale through your nose, retain your breath for 2 to 5 seconds and then exhale through your mouth with a gentle sigh, repeat four more times.
Then continue to breathe slowly in and out through your nose.
NB only retain your breath for a comfortable time, if you experience any discomfort relax the practice immediately and just breathe slowly through your nose.
Symptoms of Exam Stress and Anxiety
Here are a few common symptoms to watch out for during exam time: -
Feeling fed up, agitated and generally quite low, any changes in diet including a loss of appetite and also excess eating or comfort eating, feeling nauseas, faster than usual heart rate, changes in your sleep pattern, lack of motivation, butterflies, clammy hands, fear of the tests and not participating in activities that you usually enjoy.
Why do people experience Stress and Anxiety at Exam Time?
Exam time brings so many anxieties, in some instances someone’s future may depend upon the grades obtained. This is a huge responsibility for anyone as the consequences could be massive.
Exams can be scary because very often you need to learn and recall a large amount of information. There is always an element of uncertainty and being under pressure quite naturally brings stress.
Yoga is an affordable and healthy option to help manage stress and it does not take up too much valuable time. Just a few breathing exercises at bedtime and before an exam could make so much difference.
Stress is completely normal and required to help keep us safe, motivated and alert but it is always worth having a few techniques to help us manage our stress levels so that stress does not hinder our progress.
Before you commence any new physical activity always seek medical advice, if you are struggling with stress and anxiety make sure you talk to a qualified health practitioner and seek their advice.
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