We don't just offer yoga to elementary students! Pre-Teens and Teens reap just as many benefits, if not more, through yoga.
Yoga and mindfulness programs help reduce stress, improve mood, and promote physical fitness. Yoga during this formative period is useful for developing healthy exercise habits in general as well as strength, flexibility, and balance. Yoga has many immediate and long-lasting benefits, including:
1. Overcoming fear and finding confidence:
Teens are often overcome with fear, fear that they don’t fit in, fear that they will fail, fear that they aren’t good enough. Yoga offers a chance for teens to prove to themselves that they can in fact achieve things that once seemed impossible. In some cases, a teen will be weary that they aren’t flexible enough to find certain poses, or worry that they will look strange or silly trying. This is particularly the case with challenging poses such as inversions and balances. However, when the teen realizes that they can lift themselves up, or achieve balance, they become liberated of that fear. As a result, they can carry that new found confidence into other aspects of life, approaching difficult situations fearlessly and achieving their goals.
2. Promoting health during crucial development:
Those who practice yoga will commonly tout the health benefits and ability for a yoga practice to ease pain and aid ailments. For teens, this benefit is even more noteworthy, in that they are in the midst of crucial development and body changes. Many of the yoga poses have been proven to have positive effects on the body’s organs and systems. For example, child’s pose calms the nervous and lymphatic system, Mountain Pose can improve digestion and circulation, and Headstand revitalizes the hormonal system. While poses provide physical benefit, they can also have effects on emotions, helping to deal with stress and anxiety. Exposing teens to a yoga practice provides them with the opportunity to support their ever changing body in the process and improves the ability for their body to achieve ultimate health.
3. Stress Relief:
Coming in tune with the needs of the body lets you nourish it in ways that you may ignore under the stress of daily life. Just as important as physical health is emotional health. Teens are under constant stress from their school work, to friends and family, and pursuing their hobbies. Not only do the yoga poses offer stress relief in the way they manipulate the body, but it is also in the mindfulness element of the practice that teens will find relief and learn to balance their life. When they begin to match their breath to the movement, they begin to slow down and notice what their body is saying to them. Coming in tune with the needs of the body lets you nourish it in ways that you may ignore under the stress of daily life. Teens can use the breathing exercises outside the yoga class as well, calling on their breath to bring calm to chaotic situations. Additionally, lying in Savasana or experiencing the guided meditation at the end of each class lets the teen leave behind their busy life for a peaceful oasis within their mind. If only for a a few minutes, visiting this place can be just what they need to let go of stress and find calm.
4. Logging out and tuning in:
We all know how much time teens spend interacting with technology every day. From constantly texting, to checking for friend requests, and uploading pictures, much of a teens world exists virtually, and much of the validation they receive is in the form of “likes”, and comments. When teens work with an inspiring teacher who embodies and shares with them the values and wisdom of a yoga practice, chances are that they will want to bring more kindness, presence and attention to their own lives. There’s no guarantee that they’ll spend less time texting, but they may begin to think about how much is passing them by while they stare at a computer screen.
5. Building meaningful friendships:
Much like team sports, yoga offers teens a physical activity where they can also connect with their peers. When a group of teens practice yoga together, they may form a bond a supportive community that they wouldn’t otherwise. A yoga teacher will emphasize that each individual should attempt a pose to their best of their ability, and maintain that there is no competition between students. Understanding this can help develop friendships based on compassion and respect for one another's strengths and differences, something that students can carry with them beyond the yoga studio.
If you would like to offer a yoga program at your middle or high school, please contact Kimberly at email@example.com