How does Yoga benefit the teen body?

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that more than 25% of kids aged 13-18 have a diagnosable anxiety disorder, with a 30% rate among girls.  These numbers have been on a dramatic rise over the past 20 years, and while most view them as typical signs of the volatile teen years, studies show that our kids are experiencing chronic stress.  Teens are struggling, and the results are poor academic performance, abandonment of goals, and increased participation in risky behaviors.

The daily teen struggle

You don't need to ask any teen about stress when you consider that they are confronted with daily stress from

  • body image
  • family dynamics
  • school performance
  • athletic performance
  • parental expectations
  • learning disabilities
  • social violence and bullying
  • developmental challenges such as ADHD and autism 
  • symptoms associated with anxiety and depression

What's going on developmentally?

The teen brain is very unique, in that it is still "under construction".  The following is a list of challenges brought on by the teenage brain:

  • Teens lack mature thought process to regulate emotions
  • Teens react to body language and misread social cues
  • Teens have trouble articulating what they feel
  • Teens are susceptible to dopamine rushes that come with taking risks
  • Teens are hard wired to seek the approval of their peers
  • Teens experience higher stress levels than adults
 
 This is where transformation happens...

This is where transformation happens...

Offering Yoga within the School Setting Can Help

Yoga is the Teen body's 'owner's manual'

Yoga allows us to rethink how we are going to educate kids about the 'use' of their bodies.  Yoga invites teens to explore their body's potential, and recognize their power to direct change, both physically and mentally.  Due to the brain's rapid rate of growth,  the teen years are a critical time for learning social/emotional skills.  Research shows that experience changes the brain's actual structure, so the lessons learned in yoga class really stick!

Physical Benefits

  • Improves physical fitness and overall physical health
    • yoga training makes movement in other sports more accessible, and is incorporated into the training regimen of most college, minor, and professional sports organizations
    • reduces sports related injuries, and aids in recovery times
    • is a terrific fitness regimen for kids that opt out of competitive sports
  • Supports the systems of the body (respiratory, digestive, endocrine and nervous systems) that are compromised in times of stress
  • Allows for healthy brain development and greater cognitive function, helping with the challenge of learning disabilities
    • teaches executive function skills
    • increases mental focus and stamina
  • Improved posture
    • essential for proper growth of the skeletal, muscular and fascial systems
    • posture is emotional, and conveys our sense of self to others
  • Improves balance
  • Increases flexibility and agility
  • Regulates energy
  • Promotes restful sleep, which research shows is more important the diet and exercise combined

social/emotional benefits

  • Improved body image and self-esteem
  • Reduces stress 
  • Builds feeling of well-being
  • Builds confidence and a sense of empowerment
  • Invites for healthy self inquiry, curiosity, and experimentation
  • Teaches kids life skills such as empathy, compassion and gratitude
  • Regulates mood
  • Regulates energy
  • Helps teens connect to their intuition