Statistics on addiction in the U.S. are alarming. For example, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction says that there are 17.6 million adults suffering from alcohol abuse or dependence. There are over 2 million adults suffering from opioid addiction which includes prescription pain killers and heroin. With such alarming rates of addiction, students going to college or universities are at a high risk.
The Campus Environment
Many universities are going to great lengths to protect their students from falling into an all too familiar college experience. With substance-free housing, help lines for addiction and many programs promoting health and wellness, it’s clear that an epidemic of partying too hard has shown to cause present and future problems for students.
Students are more at risk to develop substance abuse problems because the campus environment has long promoted it. With most students being away from home for the first time, there’s going to be some experimenting, but it’s when it becomes chronic that things get out of hand. The peer pressure to enter the party scene is the highest a student will experience throughout their life. Young and impressionable adults attending college away from home want to be a part of the culture. The problem is that you aren’t equipped to use substances responsibly. It’s not to say that you should never let loose and enjoy your college years, it’s just that to live a well-rounded life and get good grades, life should be more than a perpetual party.
Yoga for Anxiety
One of the reasons students tend to drink or take drugs is to relax. Studying full time can be a stressful experience, especially when you have big tests coming up. There are plenty of yoga poses that can ease your tension immediately. Instead of partying your stress away, go to bed early and do some yoga. You’ll be happy you did. When you feel anxious, instead of trying to run away from it (a common tendency), let yoga ease your stress.
One of the gentlest poses in yoga that will ease your stress and make you feel safe and secure immediately is Child’s Pose. Another alternative that offers you more of a physical challenge is Warrior III. If you can handle standing leg balances, you’ll enjoy this stress relieving pose that also strengthens and challenges you. You will stimulate your abdominal region which improves digestive functioning. This is an important way to stave off anxiety, studies have shown. Also, because you’re having to put all your efforts into a challenging pose, you’ll shift your attention from your minds’ chatter and can sit within yourself.
Yoga for Centering
In all aspects of your life, it’s important to center yourself. When you can effectively do this, you begin to understand your deeper workings. This allows you to make healthier decisions because you’ll practice more self-care. Partying constantly takes you out of your body and out of your mind so you can’t really tap into yourself any longer. Your reality is numbed and you lose yourself in a sense.
This isn’t healthy for your soul and it leads to unhealthy choices. Part of yoga is meditation, where you look into yourself. You focus on your body when you do poses and when you’re still, you focus on what you heart is truly feeling. Even if you’ve been heavily involved in the party scene at your campus, a few yoga sessions eill bring yourself back to center. For those with addictions and substance abuse problems, yoga has been a lifeline for their recovery. Yoga poses, combined with breathing and looking inwards, will shift your consciousness – which can be life changing.
Yoga for Clear Thinking
If you’ve ever attended a yoga class, you may have noticed that afterwards, you look at things in a different way. You are aware and awakened with an ability to think more clearly. Yoga promotes stillness in the mind so all that chatter falls away. When your subconscious mind isn’t filling your thoughts up with useless information, it allows you think in the present moment.
Yoga reduces restlessness, dullness, and inertia, and increases your purity. You allow thoughts to unfold in a more natural way when you practice yoga regularly. You fuss less about what people think about you and more about the conversation you’re in the middle of. You can train the mind to stop worrying about not being good enough or smart enough and just learn the material you need to learn.
Through breathing and poses that promote oxygen to surge through your body and into your mind, you will find yourself thinking more clearly. Submersing yourself into the yogic lifestyle as opposed to drinking will significantly increase your mind’s ability to retain important study information. You can promote a healthy mind or stunt it with partying. The results will be vastly different.
While there’s no reason you can’t enjoy your college years at parties, yoga does offer you another alternative. You’ll have less stress in your life and you’ll make friends that share similar values. Just as important as enjoying the freedom of college is molding yourself into the kind of person you’d like to be.
This article was contributed by guest author Meera Watts.