TeenYoga: A class especially for our young adults
TeenYoga provides a place for our young adults to get away from the pressures of school, friends, family and phones. Each one-hour class incorporates movement, breathing techniques and meditation. A time to release stress in the body through stretching and moving which feels so good; learning to understand the rhythms of the breath and use these to influence our feelings; a time to meditate, have stillness – a time to rest.
Yoga movements and postures (asanas) are the main part of the class. Moving the body into certain shapes can make us feel more alive and confident whilst other shapes can help us calm. The idea is to notice these feelings and be OK with them – this can help us begin to understand the root cause as to why we feel a certain way. When we can understand why we feel a certain way, start to be comfortable with being challenged in yoga asanas and begin to foster the patience to practice within the safe environment of a yoga class, we can start to use these techniques outside of the class – in school and home. Yoga is great for sporty teens as a form of cross-training for other sports. It’s also a beautiful way to be active in a non-competitive environment for the not-so-sporty.
“I enjoy going to teen yoga because it helps with my stress. I also try and practice some of the moves at home too because I’m trying to get my splits. It’s helped a lot with improving my flexibility and keeping myself calm in hard situations (like the breathing exercises we do).”
The classes also focus on breathing techniques. Some yoga breathing techniques are taught with particular attention to stress relief – a bonus for those with exams coming up. Breath powers each asana. In some asanas it is more difficult to breath as the body may be twisted, or in a backbend. We can use awareness to refine how we need to breath to be comfortable in a position; again these challenges can be translated off the mat and into life!
So many of the young people I teach always ask for more meditation. The meditation we do in this class is the yoga nidra meditation. Nidra means sleep! Whilst people really do sometimes fall asleep, the real meaning is the sleep of the body. The meditation, done lying down, includes a body scan to fully relax the body. Once completed there are simple breathing meditations and sometimes visualizations. Yoga nidra is a real gift of ease and time-out for our teens.
“It’s really nice to go after a day at school and just forget about everything. I enjoy learning different poses and feel more flexible now after doing yoga for a year. The best part of the class is the meditation (sleeping…!) at the end.”
Summary of benefits of yoga
- develops strength, flexibility and stamina
- reduces tension, stress and anxiety
- raises self-esteem and promotes self-efficacy
- improves motivation
- develops clarity, focus and concentration
- creates awareness of emotional responses
- encourages self-management of behaviour
- promotes social, mental and emotional health
“It’s been a safe place to unwind and de stress. Best thing ever for teenagers.”
Katie currently teaches yoga at a local grammar school and a local girls’ school.
She runs a TeenYoga class each Tuesday during school term time at Cheltenham Holistic Health Centre.
Katie also runs adult vinyasa, hatha and restorative yoga classes at the centre.