New study seeks correlation between yoga and stress

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New study seeks correlation between yoga and stress

Education graduate student, Rasmiyeh Asam demonstrates one of the yoga poses she teaches.

Education graduate student, Rasmiyeh Asam demonstrates one of the yoga poses she teaches.

Andres Martinez

Education graduate student, Rasmiyeh Asam demonstrates one of the yoga poses she teaches.

Andres Martinez

Andres Martinez

Education graduate student, Rasmiyeh Asam demonstrates one of the yoga poses she teaches.

Julia Hettiger, Staff Reporter

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The goal of a new study at The University of Texas at El Paso is to evaluate the impact of yoga on the stress and anxiety levels of students and their academic focus. The study also aims to gain the students’ perspective on whether or not yoga was effective in relieving stress and anxiety.

Rasmiyeh Asam, graduate student in education, is conducting the study to see if there is a correlation between yoga and self-diagnosed stress relief for first-generation college students. Starting Sept. 8, students interested in the study can receive free yoga lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Memorial Gym, room 121. The study will last six weeks and all students are welcome to participate during the first week.

Those who wish to participate in the full study will receive a free yoga mat.

“My study is actually going to take place next week,” Asam said. “I’ve had flyers up around campus for a while and in order to recruit students, the first week will be free, that way students can stay or quit at no loss to either of us.”

Asam chose to conduct this study based on her experiences as an undergraduate student, when she used yoga as a stress reliever.

“I, myself, was stressed and I took yoga for six semesters, and it really helped,” Asam said.

She says she owes a lot to her personal experiences, and this has led Asam to try to help students who are in the same situation as she was.

Asam took a 200-hour yoga certification class and is now a certified yoga instructor. She is also constantly learning new things about yoga and reads many yoga-related books.

She also serves as a yoga teacher at Casa de Yoga, where she also takes classes.

“Anyone can learn yoga on their own, but I like going to the studio because of the social atmosphere and having a leader who really pushes you,” Asam said. “That’s what I hope students get out of coming to my yoga classes.”

According to Asam, yoga can help alleviate stress because of the breathing techniques involved, which she uses when she feels stressed.

“Learning how to breathe and taking it day by day helps me to not let things bother me as much and better understand them,” Asam said. “I don’t think many students know this, and if anything, I want them to remember the breathing techniques.”

Once when she was in her car, she used a breathing technique she learned through her yoga classes to calm herself down when she felt anxious.

“It may sound a little ridiculous, but I was stressed in my car, so I started doing a lion’s breath, which is the equivalent of a lion’s roar,” Asam said. “It started making me laugh and smile, and I forgot why I was stressed in the first place.”

Asam’s study will focus on first-generation college students, meaning students whose parents did not graduate from college. Being a first-generation college student herself, Asam understands the stress and pressure associated with being the first in the family to go to college.

“As a student whose parents graduated from college, you have people who’ve been through the college experience and can help you, but as a first-generation college student, you’re held with more stress,” Asam said. “I was so lost with what college meant and finding the right services and processes. Joining yoga classes helped with my stress.”

Asam believes yoga better serves as a stress reliever than many other common outlets.

“Many people could use it to get through stuff without using something that involves putting something else in you,” Asam said. “Not saying some people don’t need it, but yoga can still help a lot with stress.”

For more information about the study, email Rasmiyeh Asam at [email protected]

Julia Hettiger may be reached at [email protected]

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