Test anxiety is the worst. Worries, doubts, and altogether negative emotions take over your thoughts when you should really be focusing on the test material. It sucks – we know. So to combat the panic and make the grade, here are some yoga poses to help you relax and focus.
Five of the poses on this list are perfect to do before your test on your yoga mat, while the other three poses are great to do while you are in your seat taking the test.
Don’t allow those impressive Instagram yogis to make you feel intimidated by yoga. All of the poses on this list are easy, and perfect for beginners. Try to hold each pose for at least five breaths, if you can.
Before the Exam
#1 – Cat/Cow
Switching from cat to cow pose and vice versa awakens the spine. Sync your breath with the movement. These two poses when done together will calm you down and reduce that butterfly feeling in your stomach.
Get on your hands and knees on the yoga mat. Make sure your knees are as wide as your hips and your hands are as wide as your shoulders. On an inhale, look up and let your spine follow, dipping your belly down, creating an arch in your spine, and pointing the tail bone up.
On an exhale, move into cat pose as your chin moves done and your spine follows, curling your spine up like a cat and tucking the tailbone down. Switch from cat to cow while focusing on your breath. Do this movement at least five times, following the sync of your breath.
#2 – Tree Pose
Tree pose eliminates test anxiety by occupying your mind as you focus on balancing on one foot. This pose is perfect to gain grounding energy when feeling scatterbrained.
While standing with your hands on your hips, start to shift your weight into your right foot. If you are new to this pose, set your left heel up on your right ankle, while keeping the ball of your left foot on the ground. This movement should mimic a kick stand.
If you feel comfortable here, you can raise the left leg and place it on the side of your shin or up on your thigh. Do not place your left foot on your right knee, this creates tension on the knee joint. If you feel comfortable in tree pose, you can move your hands to your heart or up to the sky. Repeat for the left side.
#3 – Child’s Pose
Child’s pose is a common relaxation pose. When we become stressed, we tend to hold tension in our back and shoulders. This pose will stretch the spine and the shoulders, releasing that tension and creating a peaceful effect.
While sitting on your knees, spread your knees out to the width of your mat, while keeping your toes touching. Lean your chest forward and place your forehead on the ground. The arms can either be in front of you or behind you. If you want a better shoulder stretch, place your arms in front of you.
#4 – Standing Forward Fold
Forward bending rushes blood toward your head, giving you a burst of energy, and releases tension from the upper body. This pose will feel phenomenal if you hold a lot of stress in your shoulders and upper back.
While standing, start to fold forward. Allow your knees to bend and let your arms relax down. Relax your upper body and neck. Your hands do not have to reach the floor.
#5 – Corpse Pose
Corpse, also known as savasana, is typically the last pose done during a yoga practice. The idea here is to relax every single part of your body, breath normally, and let the wondering thoughts subside. The purpose of this pose is to achieve total relaxation.
Lay on your back, put your hands to your sides, and let your feet splay out. Lay and relax.
During the Exam
#6 – Neck and Shoulder Rolls
If you find yourself having intense anxiety during your test, begin doing slow neck rolls. Remember to close your eyes during these rolls, so examiners don’t think you’re checking out your neighbor’s paper. Neck rolls will release tension in the neck and upper back.
Start with a neutral spine. Bring your chin to your chest and slowly roll your right ear over to your right shoulder. Continue rolling your neck toward your back, left shoulder and then back to your chest.
Repeat in one direction a few times before you switch to rolling the other direction. Be very mindful of your action; do not roll too quickly.
#7 – Sitting Meditation/Deep Breathing
The best thing you can do if you feel intense anxiety during your test is to stop and breathe. Focus on your breath. This will slow down your heart rate, which should make you feel calmer.
Take deep and slow inhales and exhales. Pay attention only to your breath and your body as it rises and falls.
#8 – Chair Twists
While doing your twists, imagine you are wringing out all the negative and anxious emotions inside you. This helps to detox you of negative emotions.
While in your chair, keep your lower half seated while your torso turns to the right. Place your left hand on the outside of your right thigh, giving you more leverage to twist your spine. You could either look right or turn the neck to look back. Be gentle and release gently. Repeat for the left side.
How do you ease your test anxiety? Share your tips in the comments below!