It’s not often that you find your teenage daughter saying, “Mom, you are right.” But when it comes to rolling out a mat to do downward dog next to mom or pop, more and more teenagers are following suit with their parents’ dedication to this age-old Indian practice.
What attracts teenagers to yoga are the same qualities that attract adults: yoga’s ability to reduce stress, manage the pressures of everyday life and stay in shape.
Yoga classes specifically designed for teenagers are starting to turn up in yoga studios, fitness centers and even in schools all around the country.
Here is what you need to know about yoga for teens:
Yoga is ideally suited for today’s teenager because it can help them manage many of the unique issues that they are faced with every day. From wrestling with body image issues to managing their busy schedules and confronting the pressure to fit in, yoga offers teens a unique opportunity to accept themselves for who they are while tuning out the pressures and stresses of their everyday lives.
Yoga has therapeutic benefits to help kids who have a learning disability. It also reduces the risk for eating disorders in women and improves focus and concentration in school-aged kids.
Whether a teenager needs to relax or get in shape, yoga postures for teens accomplishes both. Plus, since most teenagers are more agile and more flexible than older adults, many of the twisty and bendy postures are easy and fun for them to do.
Here are a few yoga postures perfectly suited for teenagers:
Sun Salutation B (Surya Namaskar B): This series of postures produces a cardiovascular effect while also cultivating a strong sense of stillness, which is integral to the teenager’s frenzied and thought-filled mind. The young teen should focus on inhaling and exhaling fully and completely with each movement while also paying attention to the subtle changes in their body as they become more adept at doing this posture. Teens can begin by performing five complete cycles of Sun Salutation B and gradually work their way to do more.
Warrior I and II (Virabhadrasana I and II): Just like Sun Salutations, which are a series of progressive movements, the Warrior sequence is ideally suited for teenagers, as it keeps their bodies challenged while keeping their minds steady. While doing these postures, teens should focus on lengthening and stretching with each movement. They can also visualize their inhale touching the crown of their head while the exhale grounds them down through their toes. Teens can begin by performing a full sequence of Warrior I and II after doing a few rounds of Sun Salutations.
The most important aspect for a teenager to consider while beginning a yoga practice is to seek out a place or instructor where they feel comfortable. Grabbing a friend or a group of friends can help make the experience that much more enjoyable and fun. And while teenagers are attracted to immediate gratification, they should commit to maintaining a yoga practice for a consistent amount of time in order to reap its many benefits.
- Gywneth Paltrow and Bent on Learning
- Yoga: A New Way to Treat Eating Disorders
- Yoga’s Benefits for Autistic Children
July 27th, 2010