By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Yoga practice has realistic solutions for stressed-out teenagers. Young people need to take time out for non-competitive and wholesome activities, such as Yoga. When teens have a chance to explore themselves from within, this is time well spent.

There has never been a time when teenagers were subjected to more stress than right now. Reuters Health reported, “One third of US teens say they feel stressed-out on a daily basis.” This was based upon a study of over 8,000 teens, and young adults, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

For adults who lack compassion, for young people trying to cope in our society, consider this: The leading cause of death in teens and youths, ages 10 to 19 years old, is “teenage suicide.” Stress can place young people at risk. According to the US Department of Justice, “It is estimated that 500,000 teenagers try to kill themselves each year.”

The sources for the reasons for teenage stress, on such a massive scale, is subject to theory, but let’s take a look some of the reasons why so many young adults and teenagers are at risk. Family units are challenged, because many teens live in single parent families.

Parents work so much that “bonding time” is compromised. Peer pressure has always been part of the back drop in finding one’s self as a teenager. Technology also plays a role in pushing teens further than ever before.

Sure they are privileged to have access to so much information, but they also suffer from information overload. On top of this, high expectations are placed on teens for social status, academic performance, athletic performance, performance in the entertainment industry, etc.

So how can Yoga help teens to cope with stress? Regular teen Yoga sessions, or classes, should contain physical posturing (asanas), Yogic breathing (pranayama), laughing, positive affirmations, and learning to create an automatic relaxation response on a daily basis.

Teens must learn to reserve regular “Yoga time” for themselves. Working part-time, studying for SATs, getting a date for a prom, and preparing for college, are part of becoming a young adult, but there needs to be time to constructively “unplug” from all of it.

Yoga delivers mental clarity to all practitioners. Teens can learn to pursue one short-term goal at a time. This will make daily life much more manageable. Teens should learn various Yogic relaxation techniques, such as body scanning, stage-by-stage relaxation, and progressive muscle relaxation.

Physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health, can be restored by learning to accept oneself, as is. Teens can condition and prepare themselves to realize that they will not be in control of every situation life throws at them. Open discussions with their peers, after a Yoga session, in support groups, teen meetings, after school activities, or a public speaking class, will strengthen teen social skills and character.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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