Yoga is beneficial for everyone, from 3 years to 103! It might be said though, that the 13-17 year old age group needs it the most.
There is so much going on in the physical, emotional and mental layers of the teenage body. They are at a crossroad. Hormonally there is a lot going on. Emotionally our teens are often on a rollercoaster ride. Cognitively, they are growing their neurological pathways.
All of this is going on while there is pressure coming at them from everywhere: home, school, parents, relationship issues, body image issues, problems with friendships, wanting to fit in and be liked, feeling very different and not knowing how to express it, getting told off all the time, often not feeling safe to tell people what's going on, even if they could put it into words. Does this all sound familiar?
Our teens need the tools to control their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. They need a time and a place in their week where they just get to be, where they feel safe, and where all pressures are removed. They need time to connect and to be real, to connect by being real. Teens just want to be seen, to be heard, and to be listened to. They want to connect to someone who is real. This is where yoga and their yoga teacher can come in.
A yoga session for teens, like all age groups, is made up of many components. The teen yoga session encompasses all of the Seven Essential Mental Activities shown above, based on The Healthy Mind Platter by Dr Daniel Siegel and David Rock, and much more.
In teen yoga sessions, we look at the physical, cognitive and psychosocial stages of development and build lessons encompassing all three areas. We also use yoga therapy based therapeutic exercises that work with the body to bring the body back into balance. We use breathing techniques throughout the sessions to focus, quieten, develop concentration, relaxation and for connecting to the self. Breath work is also important to expand the lung capacity during dynamic yoga movements.
"The breath is a mirror of how we feel. Through conscious breathing we can change our tension into relaxation."
- Danielle Bersma and Marjoke Visscher
Mindfulness and coping strategies are also used, giving our teens life skills to draw upon at any stage in their future life. These skills not only improve communication skills, they also work on calming the mind and body, increase focus and attention, increase the ability to learn, foster less reactive behaviours, develop self-awareness, help tune into their emotions, lessen anxiety and stress and help manage those volatile emotions our teens so often experience.
"Because of what we now know about the benefits of mindfulness, it would be irresponsible to allow a human being to come to adulthood without at least making it available to them to learn how to tune their own instruments, so they can play them under sometimes very challenging situations; that instrument would be the body, the heart, the mind, relationality with others and nature, where you no longer see yourself as the centre of the universe".
- John Kabat-Zinn
Teen yoga is done in a caring, structured, yet fun way. It is done in a space that encourages all children to feel welcome, to feel safe, and allows them to be themselves without judgement, all while learning how to be the best version of themselves that they can be and develop life long skills to cope in the real world.
My mission at Panda Kids Mindfulness and Yoga is:
To create a safe place where children can be themselves, and believe in themselves. I encourage every child to be at ease in their own uniqueness and unlock their potential.
Who do you know that could benefit from learning life long coping skills and strategies to strengthen their physical, mental and emotional bodies? Essential Wellness and Lifestyle and Panda Kids Mindfulness and Yoga run two programs for teens:
If you have any questions, or would love some more information, please contact me. Please share this post on your Social Media and email. Let's spread the word about the importance of Yoga and Mindfulness for our teens.