Supporting Student Mental Health: Yoga

How can your college retail store support and encourage mental health and well-being for students? One way is to sell yoga supplies and educate on the mental health benefits of yoga. Studies have shown that yoga can help reduce anxiety and depression and sharpens the brain.

Yoga and the Brain

Yoga encourages brain cells to develop new connections which helps brain function, cognitive skills, learning, and memory (huge benefits for college students!). Yoga also strengthens the parts of the brain that play a key role in memory, attention, awareness, thought, and language (Harvard).

“Studies using MRI scans and other brain imaging technology have shown that people who regularly did yoga had a thicker cerebral cortex (the area of the brain responsible for information processing) and hippocampus (the area of the brain involved in learn­ing and memory) compared with nonpractitioners. These areas of the brain typically shrink as you age, but the older yoga practitioners showed less shrinkage than those who did no yoga. This suggests that yoga may counteract age-related declines in memory and other cognitive skills. Research also shows that yoga and meditation may improve executive functions, such as reasoning, decision making, memory, learning, reac­tion time, and accuracy on tests of mental acuity.” (Harvard).

Yoga and Mood

All exercise can help boost mood by lowering stress hormones and increasing endorphins. Yoga has been shown to have additional benefits “by elevating levels of a brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is associated with better mood and decreased anxiety” (Harvard).

“A number of small studies have found that yoga can help with post-traumatic stress dis­order (PTSD). It is not used by itself, but as an add-on treatment to help reduce intrusive memories and emo­tional arousal and to produce calmer, steadier breathing. Deep, slow breathing is associated with calmer states because it helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system” (Harvard).

Yoga and Well-Being

86% of Americans surveyed said that they practice to help with stress. This most likely has to do with the tightening and relaxing of muscles which releases tension in the body. The peaceful atmosphere of yoga classes also contributes. Yoga has also been shown to help manage anxiety through the breath training and help with depression because of releasing mood boosting chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.

Selling Yoga Supplies

Douglas Stewart Company’s School and Dorm Supply Portal is a great resource for back-to-school shopping. Check out top-selling yoga accessories HERE.

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