By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Yoga has many uses, but establishing family bonds is a valuable part of the practice. What should you do if the family ties between a parent and child were not so strong to start with? Sometimes, a parent and teen are complete strangers to each other.

For example: What if the family became separated, went through a divorce, if the children were brought up by a day care system, or if one of the parents was so career-oriented that family ties were not a priority? It is never too late to re-establish family ties, but there is much repair to be done.

Yoga, and other non-competitive activities, give both parties a chance for joint participation, without an adult being portrayed as the controlling parent or teacher. Activities, which are non-competitive, such as Yoga, give both parent and teen some “breathing room.”

One point for estranged parents to be aware of is – it takes time and a long-term commitment to develop strong family ties. Joint participation, in Yoga classes, gives time to repair the relationship. At the same time, Yogic philosophy guides teens to develop many good health practices.

In Hatha Yoga classes, careful alignment of the spine is emphasized, muscles are strengthened, the body becomes balanced, flexibility is enhanced, and a sound mind is developed.

The value of a healthy spine is overlooked, by those who are lucky enough to take it for granted, but it is a crucial nervous center. The spinal maintenance aspect is a valuable habit to learn at a young age. Yoga practice helps to create some space between the vertebrae, thus extending the life of our spine, and helping us to stay pain free in our later years.

With all the emphasis on good health, and developing awareness, teens that practice Yoga are less likely to be pressured into substance abuse or “following the leader.”

As teens approach adulthood, some of the best gifts parents can bestow on them, beside love, are: Establishing good health habits, the ability to see things as they are, and the ability to think for themselves. Yoga prepares teens for all of their challenges.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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