An illustration of stick figures meditating

Meditation and yoga are tools that can help to manage stress. Just a few minutes per day meditating can help restore a sense of calm and peace. Credit: Ivan Kostovski | Infographic Editor

As the semester draws near, so may a bit of stress. Meditation and yoga are tools that can help to manage stress and make the most out of your freshman year at Ohio State.

Spending a few minutes per day meditating can help restore a sense of calm and peace, according to the Mayo Clinic website. You can meditate anywhere, whether in your residence hall room, between classes or before an exam.

Nealofar Madani, president of SKY @ OSU, connects students with stress-relief tools to improve mental and physical health. Meditation is a large part of the student organization’s practice. 

“By changing the rhythm of our breath, we can actually change the state of our mind and our emotions,” Madani, a fourth-year in public health, said.

In addition to improving overall well-being, meditation may also improve academic performance. Since discovering meditation, Madani said that the practice has helped her to spend less time stressing and more time studying.

“I feel like I’m able to get more work done in a shorter period of time,” Madani said. “You get to focus on so many other things when you have more time.”

Students can access guided meditation modules through the Stress Management & Resiliency Training Lab website. 

Yoga is another activity that can reduce stress. It combines physical exercise with mindfulness to improve mental and emotional well-being, Alice Adams, manager of group fitness programming and education, said.

“It can give you tools to use throughout your everyday life,” Adams said. “If you learn how to breathe more deeply, when you are then faced with a stressful test, you can come back to those tools of taking a few deep breaths and that can help kind of slow your heart rate, and again bring you back to that present moment.”

In addition to reducing stress and anxiety, studies show that yoga may enhance moods, lower blood pressure and improve balance, according to the Mayo Clinic website. 

Ohio State offers a variety of yoga class formats including candlelight, hip-hop, power, flow, sunrise and relaxation. This fall group fitness classes will operate by reservation or drop-in at limited capacity to allow for physical distancing. Yoga classes are also available virtually over Zoom, according to the Recreational Sports website.

Ohio State also offers two semester-long yoga courses, Yoga 1 and Yoga 2. Yoga 1 introduces basic standing, sitting and lying down poses. Yoga 2 delves into more intermediate yoga techniques and yoga philosophy, according to the Sports Fitness and Health Program.

Yoga can serve as a gentle introduction to moving your body, Adams said. Whether you’re looking to release endorphins and gain energy or relieve stress, it’s an accessible practice regardless of your past experience with fitness.

“Yoga is meditation, it’s movement in the body, it’s the inner work that you do with yourself, it’s how you engage with people in the world,” Adams said.