Yoga For Teenagers

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Lifestyle Needs of Teenagers

  • Increasing demands on intellectual performance at school
  • Speeches/presentations-related stress
  • Depreciation on physical performance at school
  • Decreasing physical activity, seated lifestyle

 

 

Psychological Needs of Teenagers

  • Strong emotions need to be increasingly controlled
  • Increasing “internal chatter” in the head
  • Judgemental attitude, (self-) criticism
  • Insecurity, group pressure, love
  • Seeking role models/guidance outside family
  • Social skills and independence develop
  • Questioning attitude

 

 

Physical Needs of Teenagers

  • Hormonal changes influence body, increase energy levels
  • Girls develop their breasts, menarche
  • Possible genetic postural problems start to manifest
  • Fast bone growth may cause muscle tightness

 

 

Puberty in Indian Sciences

  • In Ayurveda, puberty is a period of transformation, governed by the Pitta (water/fire) dosha
    • High energy levels and mobility, intensity
    • Strong digestion
    • Oily skin/acne
    • Judgmental, argumentative mind
    • Strong emotional responses
  • In Tantric Yoga, this is a period of opening, high activity or malfunctioning of the three lowest chakras:
    • Base: selfishness, insecurity, possessiveness, grounding
    • Sacral: feelings, desires, sexual energy, creativity
    • Solar plexus: ability, self-identity, manipulation, restlessness, feeling of inadequacy, action

What to teach in a teen yoga class

  • Pitta-balancing asana:
    • Dynamic, not aggressive movements, short holds
    • Focus on balancing and forward-bend asanas
    • Exhalation through mouth in dynamic movements
  • Chakra-balancing asana:
    • Base: Standing and balancing postures, Mulabandha
    • Sacral: Trikonasana, Bhujangasana, Marjaryasana
    • Solar plexus: Core strengthening and twist
    • Heart: Chest openers
  • Pranayama and meditation
    • Calming/cooling/balancing pranayamas (Deep abdominal breathing, Sheetali, Nadi shodana)
    • 10 min rest in Shavasana with visualization

How to teach a teen yoga class

  • 45min class is enough
  • Start by giving a class layout
  • Teach independence and kindness: ask students to prepare the room with you and to clean it after the class
  • Offer plenty of explanation on why we are doing each posture and why using props (if any) or chanting
  • Introduce 1-2 partner asanas to teach empathy and cooperation
  • Treat seriously all questions
  • Use flow music to enhance concentration
  • Optionally use light calming fragrances (lavender) in the room

What lifestyle advice teens need

  • Pitta-balancing diet:
    • Cool, sweet, bitter and astringent tastes, milk-based, cooling squash vegetables, cucumbers, melons, white meat and fish in non-veg etc.
    • Avoid sour, spicy, hot and oily foods
  • Pitta-balancing lifestyle:
    • Avoid stressful situations such as time pressure, plan in advance
    • Eat regularly, avoid snacks
    • Spend time in nature, near water, in moonlight
    • Wear cooling colors (blue, green, sliver)
    • Allow at least 8h of sleep

Conclusions: how yoga meets the needs

  • Lifestyle
    • Counter-balances sedentary lifestyle and intellectual demands at school with physical activity
    • Teaches how to manage stress and panic during exams, presentations
  • Physical
    • Improves posture, flexibility
    • Cools down internal heat and emotions
    • Channelizes energy in a positive direction

    Psychological

    • Helps letting go of being critical of one’s self and judgmental of others
    • Provides an internal perspective; helps self-image to develop
    • Opens to the qualities of kindness, compassion, and nonviolence (Heart chakra)

Author

Szymon Jarosławski, PhD

A TTC graduate of a1000yoga, Szymon is a certified yoga and meditation teacher (RYT500 level) and Thai massage therapist based in Bangalore, India. This presentation has been done by Szymon exclusively for a1000yoga’s – education Series – bringing knowledge, acceptance and practice together for success and sustenance. See you all on the mat. Share with friends and family.

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The principles laid out in Patanjali’s yoga sutras dating back to 500 B.C. are still very relevant today, even in our modern information world. Yoga has evolved a lot from the days of Patanjali; it has taken different forms to meet the varying needs of practitioners all along its journey. Yoga continues to accept all changes, like the ocean accepts the river, absorbs, assimilates and grows. (A distinctive feature of sanaatan dharma of India)

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