YOGA FOR PRETEENS AND TEENAGERS

23 Dec

children yoga2

Teenagers’ are dealing with a great deal of pressure. Their hormones are racing and they are dealing with exams, a changing body, their social group, and growing responsibilities as they progress rapidly towards becoming an adult. Yoga really can assist and prepare teenagers for life, creating a haven from the fast paced, ever-changing world around them.

Depending on teenagers’ past experiences and demographics they may be very active or live a more sedentary lifestyle. Yoga asana to move the spine and build strength and focus is of benefit to all. Preteens in particular can be very shy of their changing bodies and often girls and boys can be best grouped into gender groups. Teenagers are big children, so be aware of cultivating body awareness and confidence in what is said and done.

Boys working together tend to be very competitive. As a teacher it is up to you to facilitate this and ensure a safe space for all to practice, harnessing the competitiveness in a positive way. Girls groups can be equally competitive. Inversions practiced safely are a favorite focus challenge to a yoga session, remembering many girls have started menstruating and may prefer to keep this private. Teens in particular often like to link their yoga asana into sequences to music, there are some artists that promote yogic culture that can be used in classes.

Both genders like added responsibility, so a teacher’s seat often turns more to a facilitator’s position. Allowing teens and older children the opportunity to create, present or teach their favourite asana or a small sequence to a small or to the whole group is an ideal activity once basic asanas have been taught.

All teens benefit from pranayama, and sessions should end with stillness and relaxation in corpse (Shavasana). Just being given permission to relax is phenomenal.

Meditation and visualization can be wonderful tools for teenagers to help clear their minds and relieve stress. Meditations can focus on a particular theme or can just be about bringing attention to the breath. Make links throughout what is being taught in these vital components of a yoga session to how the teens can use this in real life situations.

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