Students can reduce stress before finals with ASU yoga and meditation events

YesPlus Confluence ASU 2018 classes offer opportunities for students to nourish their mind and body

Research shows that the popularity of yoga has gained momentum in recent years, and there are many outlets available at ASU for students to practice yoga and meditation.

The number of practitioners in the U.S. has almost doubled from 2012 to 2016, according to the 2016 Yoga in America Study conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance. 

Alicia Nelson, a global studies senior and director of YesPlus at ASU, a club that offers health and wellness techniques, said that many students fail to prioritize their happiness, and she wants to show her campus and community that happiness doesn’t have to wait for a specific moment or thing. 

“What we do on campus is offer not only just education and practical knowledge, but actual tools for students to use,” Nelson said. “We offer the expertise, so students can have a strong foundation to practice mindfulness and meditation at home on their own.”

YesPlus Confluence ASU 2018 is a three-day leadership and meditation workshop from March 30 to April 1 providing students with the tools of meditation, yoga and breathing techniques in order to gain “clarity of mind, resilience, purpose and belonging” Nelson said.

Yoga has been known to provide many health benefits such as relieving stress and anxiety, which is especially important for students as they prepare for finals.

This increased relaxation may improve sleep quality and even relieve depression, according to a study by the International Journal of Yoga

Nelson said that breathing techniques are a very important aspect of yoga practices and also the most accessible because mostly anyone can breathe. 

Meditation and mindfulness can also have a positive effect on cognition as well as help the brain block out distractions, according to a study published in Consciousness and Cognition Journal and a Harvard Medical study

YesPlus Wednesdays is a beginners guide to meditation open to students every week in the prayer and meditation space at the Memorial Union, which is designed to teach life skills that are not available in the classroom. 

Nelson said the class was created to help students find a balance in handling different aspects of life efficiently, from nutrition to relationships. 

“That’s really just the time to release and let go of everything,” Nelson said. “Even just for a few moments.”

ASU offers a wide variety of yoga classes across all campuses, including Restorative Yoga, Sunrise Flow, Goddess Yoga and Mindful Yoga, to name a few. 

Neda Movahed, a doctoral student at the ASU School of Sustainability and a facilitator of one of the mindfulness classes offered at ASU's Tempe and Downtown campuses, said mindful meditation is beneficial for students in particular because of the pressure of school.

“The act of choosing to go to school, no matter what age you are, you are choosing to have a transformative experience,” Movahed said. “So that, in and of itself, is a journey.”

Other campus organizations are also adding yoga events to their lineups. 

Students have the unique chance to try yoga during a light show at the “Glowga” event on April 3 while a DJ plays music during this high-energy twist on a traditional yoga routine, sponsored by the Programming and Activities Board.

Danielle Rivera, a sophomore electrical engineering major and PAB pavilion programs events coordinator, said she hopes the event will encourage students who may have an interest in yoga but have never tried it to participate.  

“If they decide they’re not really into yoga,” Rivera said, “then we’re still glad they showed up because they got exposed to something new and a new way of looking at yoga as well.”

Additionally, many yoga studios in Tempe offer student discounts or a complimentary first class. The local Tempe studio Yoga to the People distinguishes itself with a donation-based program geared towards students. 

Read More: Yoga to the People provides students with affordable yoga

Rivera also said that yoga and meditation are important for students in particular because it helps with focus, concentration and posture as well as being a tool for stress relief without being too physically demanding. 

“Having good posture makes you feel more comfortable and confident in yourself,” Rivera said.

A positive self-image is strongly correlated with practicing yoga, according to the 2016 Yoga in America Study. 

“If you practice (yoga) regularly then it becomes sort of ... a constant thing,” Rivera said. “Even though the rest of your life might be changing, or you have to adapt to other stressful situations, it's just one relaxing thing that you can rely on, which is really important especially for college students.”



Reach the reporter at chofmann@asu.edu and follow @chofmann528 on Twitter.  

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