As a medical student, balancing study, hospital rotations, working part-time and life in general can be a stressful endeavour. And getting this balance right, is often the key to doing any of them successfully.
In a rare spare moment, you may find yourself guiltily binging the latest season of Schitt’s Creek, mindlessly scrolling TikTok or indulging in some late night online shopping. While these activities can be totally necessary to recharge, there are some other great practices and skills you can inherit to better your overall physical and mental health and get you in prime position to tackle that busy workload. Here are some benefits of practicing yoga and meditation for medical students.
Take time for yourself to clear some space in your old grey matter
7 steps to calm your mind and body as a medical student
DPM’s resident yoga expert and qualified yoga instructor, Amanda Willis, shares some simple but effective steps that can be completed in just 5 minutes each day.
You don’t need any special equipment, however, a yoga mat or rug might help with your comfort.
- Find a quiet place without distractions: this could be a room in the house, backyard, balcony or local park.
- Sit down with legs crossed or out in front. Take a moment to steady your breath, close your eyes and take six to eight deep breaths through your nose (count four inhales and four exhales). Remember: try and keep this breath for the length of the exercise.
- You should start to relax fairly quickly, so once settled, with your eyes closed, on the inhale raise your arms above your head. Do this four to six times, inhaling on the upward and exhaling on the downward movement. Stay with your breath.
- Next, we’ll introduce a twist. Stay seated facing forward, keep the breath going, raise your arms overhead, then move your left hand beside or behind your hip and move your right hand to your left knee or the side of thigh (depending on where your legs are placed).
- Now, from your thoracic spine twist your body to the left and you should start to feel a lovely stretch from your right hip and the way through the right side body. Hold here for five counts of breath then release.
- Repeat on the other side. Start by raising your arms overhead and twisting to the right and holding for five breaths. Repeat four to six times on each side.
- Once complete, shake out your legs and you should feel a sense of calm. And, if you prefer, you can just sit and breathe without the movement and concentrate on your breath coming in and out of your nose.
Amanda’s experiences with practicing yoga whilst balancing full-time work and study
When I was studying Natural Therapies part-time and working full-time, just five minutes a day helped calm my mind. I found yoga was particularly useful when I was experiencing the pre-exam nerves.
Yoga is a great alternative to outdoor exercise if the weather is bad outside. You can do yoga anywhere and can be easily adapted to fit into a busy schedule.
I’ve never practiced yoga, where do I start?
Outside the steps I’ve provided, there are plenty of great apps and online resources for both meditation and yoga, from beginners to advanced.
If you are going to consider taking up a yoga practice, sign up for a beginners course initially so that you can learn the correct posture and alignment techniques, then continue at home at your own pace.
Alternatively, there are so many gifted yogi’s providing free classes on YouTube that you could practice every day and never repeat the same class twice!
Some great apps for meditation to check out are:
And remember, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to start.
Disclaimer: * The information contained in this site is general and is not intended to serve as advice as your personal circumstances have not been considered. DPM Financial Services Group recommends you obtain personal advice concerning specific matters before making a decision.