Breathe out Exam Stress through Yoga

As the exam heat begins to soar, yoga practitioners talk about its role in busting stress and maintaining cool

Published: 03rd March 2014 09:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd March 2014 09:52 AM   |  A+A-


It is that time of the year when students feel the exam heat. As children bury their noses deep in books and burn the midnight oil, they face stress and anxiety. Peer pressure and pressure from parents and teachers stress out these young minds.

This is where yoga comes to the rescue, say yoga practitioners. Realising the importance of yoga as a stress buster, schools in the city are also facilitating practicing of yoga.

“Yoga is a great means to bust stress and build confidence and improve concentration in students,” says Manoj, a yoga instructor with Patanjali Yoga Vidyapeeth in the city. “Many students often have the tendency to procrastinate the studying process thinking that there’s still a lot of time ahead of the exams. But when examinations finally draw near, anxiety strikes,” he adds.

He goes on to explain the basic anatomy of stress that plays out in 90 per cent of students. Stress can be divided into two parts, he says- internal and external. External stress is caused by people around.  ‘Did you complete the portions?’ ‘Will you score well?’ ‘Did you study this portion? Heard it’s important’...questions like these from parents, teachers and friends can crack a nerve. Children may even begin to doubt their capabilities. This is internal stress, he says.

Many of us have at one time or the other been in a situation where we sit in an exam hall, open the question paper and at the very instant our mind goes blank. It may feel as if somewhere on our journey from our room to the exam hall, all that we had packed into our heads over the past few months has leaked out! Well, this is precisely the effect of anxiety. Besides this scary situation, there are other changes that reflect in bodies and internal systems during stress. Increase in heart rate, increased respiratory rate, acidity and stomach disorders, mood disorders, sleeplessness are just a few on the list.

The body needs relaxation, so does the mind. Over the last month, Manoj and his team has been organising workshops for children in schools in the city on how to overcome stress and exam fear. Relaxation and breathing techniques were taught to the students. He suggests some techniques to help control the mind. Instant Relaxation Technique(IRT), which involves tightening the entire body part-by-part and then releasing, can do wonders, he says. He also suggests yoga techniques like Pranayama, Naadi Shuddi or alternate nostril breathing, Bhramari Pranayama and meditation to stimulate brain cells, build concentration and mind control.

“If students practice meditation and pranayama regularly, there is no question of stress. Students who practice this have found it very effective,” says Shobha G Menon, yoga teacher with Assisi Vidyaniketan Public School in the city.

If students do not know how to carry out any of these techniques, simply sit down and practice slow breathing. Doing 10 rounds of slow and deep inhalation and exhalation can inevitably help cool you down and take your mind off negativity, say yoga practitioners.  Deeper the breath, more the intake of oxygen, more the supply of oxygen to the brain. Hence the calming effect.

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