Yoga classes help students stress levels, academic performance

A yoga class in the Human Performance Center stretch at the beginning of their class. Yoga reduces stress and negative effects in college students. Photo by Madison Anderson.

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Maintaining success in college courses can be stressful for everyone, but Dixie State University offers a variety of yoga classes that will help students unwind and relax.

Included in the fitness, adventure, sport techniques catalog, DSU offers kundalini yoga, intermediate kundalini yoga, vinyasa yoga and yoga for athletic performance. These classes are all worth one credit and located in the new Human Performance Center on campus.

“I honestly believe that taking yoga saved me mentally last semester,”

Abby Smith, sophomore general studies major

DSU yoga instructor Jennifer Tholen said the benefits of Kundalini yoga are a sense of peace, greater love of self, and connection to one’s highest self-gained through a physical practice of yoga combined with meditation.

“I honestly believe that taking yoga saved me mentally last semester,” said Abby Smith, a sophomore general studies major from Ogden. “It was my favorite class where I just got to forget about all my stresses of work, school and even social stress with friends. I just lived in the moment, exercised my body in new ways and left the class with a better outlook on my day and life overall.”

Smith said she still tries to meditate when she is feeling overwhelmed and it never fails to destress her.

Tholen has taught yoga for 20 years and said a weekly yoga routine can help students find peace throughout the week.

“A weekly yoga class can become a place of peace where the student learns for a period of time to focus on their body, breathe and being present in the moment,” Tholen said. “Through this process, they can then develop a greater sense of calm and peace that will help them to engage more completely with the rest of their life. University life can be challenging and stressful; a weekly yoga class can be a space of relaxation.”

According to the Journal of Education and Health Promotion: “Yogic practices play an important role in enhancing emotional sensitivity, sustained attention, mental performance, and balance personality trait among students, thus paving the way for their academic excellence. Yoga also reduces perceived stress and negative effects in college students thereby improving psychological well-being in them.”

Mika Knowlton, a sophomore nursing major from Taylorsville, is taking two yoga classes this semester: kundalini and vinyasa.

“I’ve really noticed that they help me stay positive about my daily routine,” Knowlton said. “I always know that I am going to get so much out of each class. I only know of kundalini and vinyasa, but I definitely prefer kundalini. It’s very calming and nurturing on your body, while vinyasa is pretty much a workout.”

Knowlton said the class is purely attendance and students who don’t attend every class get a final at the end.

Tholen said: “Vinyasa yoga is beneficial in that it creates a greater sense of physical balance in the body through a physical practice of strengthening and stretching combined with breath.  Vinyasa yoga is designed to bring the participants to a state of being present by going to a physically comfortably uncomfortable place.”

Every yoga class offered this semester meets once a week and runs for an hour and 40 minutes. It is recommended that students bring their own yoga mat to class since they get sweaty; however, mats can be provided for students if needed.

Kundalini yoga, intermediate kundalini yoga and vinyasa yoga classes will be offered again in the spring.