My Teenage Classes are very similar to my adult Yoga classes and the emphasis is definitely light hearted, friendly and fun. I sometimes use games and themes such as energy, balance or letters of the alphabet to bring a different angle to the class. We always start with a warm up often to music, followed by some flowing sequences and then a relaxation and meditation. Throughout the class I talk them through the postures to get good accuracy and educating them in the names, areas of the body that they benefit and general yoga philosophy. I encouraging an attitude of deeper self awareness and self care and ways to start incorporating yoga into their every day lives.
Our Teenagers today, both boys and girls, are suffering more stress and anxiety than ever before. It is a difficult time with a lot of development changes occurring in their bodies and minds. They also experience a lot of pressure academically and from social media, often not knowing which way to turn. Using Subtle Yoga techniques I am able to increase their nervous system resilience and improve their ‘Window of Tolerance’ in order to build coping strategies for whatever life throws at them.
Yoga and mindfulness practices can dramatically reduce these stresses in a gentle, non competitive environment, create good self esteem and compassion for themselves and others. It gives them space to reflect and make healthy life choices. All Teenagers, whether ‘sporty’ or not, benefit from the physical benefits of a strong, flexible body and raised vitality as well as becoming better equipped to deal with problems in life. They are also able to concentrate more in class and sleep better – the average teenager requires at least 9 hours a night for their bodies and brains to function properly – they should also be encouraged to turn all screens off an hour before bed – a hard task to achieve I know only too well!
There has been scientific research done in the US by Dr Sat Bir Khalsa PhD, in Neurophysiology, Harvard Medical School, that proves that if children have a regular yoga practice during adolescence it reduces lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and depression. His research has also now proved that a regular, longterm meditation practice changes the cerebral blood flow, to the whole limbic system (this combines higher mental function and our primitive emotional centre into one system) particularly to the prefrontal cortex which leads to positive changes in the mitochondria in the genes. This increases brain plasticity, it grows with age and the developing ‘yoga’ brain becomes permanently better equipped to deal with stress and emotional regulation.
A constantly wandering mind is an unhappy mind but most people are unaware that they have the power to change their thought patterns, turn their thoughts to being more positive and therefore send more positive messages to the body and lead happier lives with a high level of cognitive function and less mental deterioration as they age. This has got to be one of the ultimate gifts to give your children as they grow.