Teen Yoga

Teen Yoga

21 June, 2016
For the Body and Soul
Join your teen on the mat to develop their self-esteem and more
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By now, everyone knows the health benefits of yoga, and its highly touted stress relieving properties. But it has another positive aspect, particularly important for young women – building self-esteem, as well as an accepting community of support. A few years ago I was lucky enough to attend the Wanderlust Yoga Festival in Stratton, Vermont with my then 11-year old daughter Noor, who absolutely loved it! Initially I wasn’t sure it would be appropriate for her, but the yoga community is so wonderfully supportive, and my daughter was welcomed in all the classes she attended. We were fortunate enough to take Seane Corn’s Empower Flow class together; Seane’s classes are brilliantly motivational, and she fills long, held asanas with her personal words of wisdom.  Even though the class was quite challenging, Noor was encouraged through the class by the circulating assistant teachers, and felt a wonderful sense of achievement after the class. I have reflected on this class experience many times, and the amazing benefits a well-directed yoga practice can have on young women.
 
Improving Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is the way in which we view ourselves. During yoga, we can shut off the self-critic, and turn on the voice of self-acceptance; finding acceptance with where one is “here” and “now” otherwise known as the “journey,” instead of being attached to the destination as the only goal or market of achievement. This also helps participants gain a better, more realistic perspective on themselves and how others view them.
 
Peer Support
Yoga class is one of the few environments in which today’s teens engage in non-competitive, peer support. Often instructors will include partner work in teen classes, which may involve touching a partner, trusting them for support, or spotting certain asanas, communicating verbally, and in general, helping one another through difficult poses.
 
Mental Retreat
Yoga offers a mental “retreat” away from the chaos and constant media bombardment of everyday life, which often shape young women’s impressions of themselves and the way they are supposed to be in society.
 
Inspirational Role Models
Yoga instructors are often role models in the community; some have overcome their own obstacles through asana practice and can share these experiences with students struggling with issues in their own lives.
 
Supportive Commmunity
Yoga instructors serve as voices of support and encouragement for their students; they can be a third-party supporting voice for a young woman, other than their mother.  This can often be quite beneficial, as daughters may feel their mothers are overly critical.
 
This summer during vacation down time, find a yoga class you can attend with family members so you don’t feel the need to “sneak out” for an hour get your own practice in. Obviously this is difficult with young children, but from 10-11 years, children can often enjoy some classes with their parents. In fact, the IRIS: Your Escape health and wellness festival will be held this weekend on June 25-26. This is the perfect opportunity to start your yoga journey with your teen today.
 
Have faith that under the right instruction, practicing with your pre teen or teen can foster a closeness that doesn’t involve words or direct actions, but rather stimulates a release of energy that simply requires “doing” together. Have no expectations, and let the yoga work its magic.
 
Guest Contributor Heather Thomas Shalabi is the Director of Flex Studio.
 

By: Heather Thomas Shalabi
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