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20 August 2019 | Story Valentino | Photo Pexels

Are you always anxious and exhausted? Consider for a moment what you can do to break your hectic routine. Maybe stay in bed and binge-watch a series? Or what about joining a yoga class? Let us imagine for a moment that you have opted for the latter. What could possibly be the results of such a choice?

According to Psychology Today, there is a growing body of research to back up yoga’s mental health benefits. “Yoga increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms and centres the nervous system.”

Since the beginning of the year, a group of students has been practising yoga on the lawns of the Bloemfontein Campus at the University of the Free State (UFS). At first the group comprised students from the Office for International Affairs’ Umoja Buddy Programme, but it has since expanded to include the general student population.

Strength and stamina from body to mind 
They call themselves “"Yoga Yodas”. Their instructor, Dominique de Kock, says she has witnessed an increased level of calmness and relaxation among the group, which has had a positive effect on their academic performance and mental wellbeing.

Given the anxiety academics can create among some students, yoga is a proven method of achieving a state of positive mindfulness. “Yoga is great for when you are stressed out. Give yourself an hour to just be at peace, relax your mind and practise meditation which is not spiritually tied to any religion,” says De Kock.

Mental health and self-care go hand in hand. Find out more on yoga's positive benefits on mental health and wellbeing, by watching the video below: 

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