By Bhavan Kumar
Teaching yoga to teens is a challenge for yoga teachers. A studio affords students a safe place to learn a gentler method to deal with the stresses of becoming an adult. Yogic exercise is also a safe alternative for addressing the current trend of teens looking to have a toned physique through regular exercise.
One of the most frustrating things that teens experience is the constant swirl of moods, sometimes moment to moment. Yogic methodology is effective for giving a student a baseline of calmness and non-judgmental awareness of those ever changing emotions. By studying them in a more attached way, they can begin to make sense of them.
Teens are often overwhelmed by the stresses of daily life, and their inexperience means that what adults would shrug off can be extremely distressing to a younger person. The calming mental aspects of yogic practices are effective for releasing anxiety within a teen who feels unprepared for life’s stresses.
Growth spurts during puberty leave adolescents feeling awkward and clumsy. Yoga helps to combat this feeling by keeping students tuned into the grace and movement that their bodies are capable of producing during the teen years.
When working with teens, yoga instructors should keep in mind that a younger student looks up to a teacher as a role model. Having a philosophy of non-judgment, healthy living and tolerance teaches things to teens that both student and teacher are unaware of.
In recent years, the emphasis on a toned body as the ideal for both men and women has led to even young teens to try and “bulk up” to meet the ideal. While the explosion in weight training has caused alarm, asana is a good alternative for students who want to safely improve their physique. The body weight training aspect of yogic exercise gives students a safe way to add some muscle or tone up without producing dangerous amount of pressure on the muscles, bones or joints.
It’s important to keep in mind that many teens are terrified of being embarrassed in front of others, so be prepared for occasional reluctance to try new poses or chanting. This is also a good time for teachers to use their position as positive role models. Like trying vegetables, sometimes some gentle coaxing is required.
Teaching yoga to teens offers a challenge to yoga instructors. Yoga training can be a quiet respite from the over stimulation found in most teen’s lives, which makes practicing yoga a good tool that they can keep through adulthood.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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