The benefits of yoga are endless at every age, but I think most people who practice regularly would agree with me when I say that I wish I had been introduced to yoga when I was a teenager!
Creating a safe, secure internal place, learning to elicit the relaxation response, and connecting with the world around me in a deeper way would have been a precious gift as a teen. Not to mention the other benefits: self-discovery, self-regulation of emotions, balanced moods, less reactivity, physical fitness, improved sleep and healthy body image.
Yoga can also support our teens with the academic demands of being at secondary school – helping to reduce stress and anxiety, enhancing mental clarity, focus and coordination – as well as the extreme social pressures of their online world.
There’s some good evidence to support these ideas. For over three decades, Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, has been studying the effects of yoga on health and, more recently, its effects on children and teens. In his research, he has found that almost all of the teens who practiced yoga, as compared with just P.E., reported feeling increasingly resilient, focused, and better able to emotionally handle and deal with stress.
I love being able to watch teens enjoy and benefit from the practice and get to know themselves in a whole new way, and I would love for every teen to give it a go! There are no requirements, you don’t have to be sporty or be able to touch your toes to try yoga. The practice is truly designed for everyone of all ages, gender and ability.
Teen Yoga classes with Sophie Purvis at the Power Yoga Company are every Thursday after school from 5:15-6:15pm. If you have a teenager, are a teenager or know a teenager then spread the word! Girls and boys are welcome between the ages of 12 and 17.